Oklahoma Employers Can't Compete With Unemployment Checks

Thursday, September 8th 2011, 11:04 pm
By: News 9

Havonnah Johnson, News 9

OKLAHOMA -- While the president focuses on creating jobs, many Oklahoma business owners say they're having a hard time finding help.

They say people simply won't work for minimum wage. Two landscaping business owners said they come across many unemployed people who will not work for $7.25 an hour even in these tough economic times.

"This might not be the most glamorous job in the world, but it puts money in your pocket and food on the table for your family," said Colby Barrington of Farmers Touch Landscaping. He pays $8 an hour plus a productivity bonus, but can't stay fully staffed.

Barrington is not alone.

"That happens a lot , a lot of people on unemployment just want to make some money under the table," Brandon Jackson of Nature Boys Landscaping said.

Jackson has owned his lawn service for 12 years but believes lazy workers are a sign of the times.

"I guess if you are not the primary owner it's hard to dedicate yourself to come out in 106 and 109 temperatures," he said.

Prospective employees tell him it is easier and more lucrative to stay at home and collect a check than to weed eat or mow.

And the math is in their favor.

The maximum weekly unemployment allowance in Oklahoma is $392 a week.  That's $20,384 annually.

Minimum wage workers earn $290 a week, or $15,080.00 per year.

A worker will make $5,304 more sitting on his couch.

"It is easier to depend on Big Brother to support your family and put food on the table than to pull up your bootstraps and go to work and earn a living," Barrington said.

Both local landscapers are hiring and several other OKC metro companies are hiring as well: FedEx (877)716-9853; Home Depot (878)967-5443; UPS (888)877-0992; Verizon (800)511-8086; and Staples (800)378-2753.