So there happens to be plenty of good news when it comes to unemployment in Amarillo, Sure the numbers back it up that we have the best rate in Texas but that still leaves roughly 6 to 7,000 folks out of work. And while there are plenty of jobs available and employers getting creative about hiring, No one is applying and it's not for the reason you think.

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Papa Joe to Blame?

The first thing most employers want to say is that federal unemployment benefits and stimulus packages brought forth by both the Biden and Trump administrations just happen to be too good for most folks out of work to pass up. The logic goes something like this "they apply to keep their benefits." There is some merit to this and perhaps for a few folks on the system who know how to make it work for them, That's true. But from talking to folks here on the streets and even seeing people leave their jobs in interesting ways here in the bomb city I think the bottom line for most folks, It's just not worth it.

The Pay is Garbage and the Risk isn't worth it for most folks

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The big deal is most folks during quarantine realized that working for minimum wage just doesn't work any more, and employers don't want to walk down that hallway because it opens a can of worms. Let's face it there is plenty of talk every session in Austin about wage increases that die in committee before they even hit the floor. Working for 7.25 or 8.00 an hour just isn't appealing, especially when it's part time and you have to deal with another factor:

Covid Creeps in:

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Most folks who work these low wage jobs are the most vulnerable to getting infected with Covid-19. Let's face it, these jobs don't usually come with health insurance and that alone scares would be workers off. Front line fast food and retail workers aren't much interested in dealing with folks who give them a hard time and don't follow covid guidelines established by the businesses who claim to be looking out for their employees but rarely enforce these rules because "the customer is always right" and the bottom line needs to be fed. Let's face it. we're all more on edge and we naturally want to take it out on someone we feel above. Sadly these are the folks who take the brunt of it.

So what's the fix?

There's no magic bullet here, We all have to get back to work and it's up to employers to read the room. If your environment makes a garbage dump look better by comparison, it might be time to look at systems in place and work on bettering things. wage increases fix all but aren't something that can be counted on, but perks can make a good substitute if applied correctly. One thing about the extended slowdown is many of these businesses that were already in danger have pretty much fallen by the wayside. Those who survived show they have the ability to adapt and for the sake of their own skin need to adjust to the needs of the post covid workforce.

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