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Labor shortage forcing construction company owner to pay high wages to 'lazy' workers who have 'no idea' how to do the job

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A construction company owner in Arkansas is complaining that the country's ongoing labor shortage is forcing him to desperately hire workers who have "no idea" how to perform the job.

What are the details?

JD Huddleston, owner of Concrete Creations and Excavations in Centerton, Arkansas, told the Arkansas Traveler recently that it has been almost impossible to find qualified workers for his construction crews since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to fulfill his contracts and stay afloat, Huddleston has had to get creative by "raising wages, offering paid vacation benefits from day one, 'renting' laborers from another contractor who hires out his employees, and working on the crews himself," the outlet reported.

"It's horrible," Huddleston said. "I'm having to pay guys $18-$20 an hour that absolutely have no idea how to operate in my industry, just to get them to show up."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction laborers earned an average hourly wage of $20.92, or $43,520 per year on a full-time work schedule.

The small business owner lamented that he ends up firing the majority of those new hires because they don't work hard enough on the job.

"For every eight guys that I hire, I'll almost certainly have to let go seven of them within 30 days, because they're just flat out lazy," he said.

The understaffing, Huddleston said, has really started to affect his company's bottom line.

"I'm turning down work all the time now," he noted. "Pretty good-paying jobs. Site development and stuff like that."

What else?

Huddleston is not the only small business owner struggling with the current labor shortage, which has plagued the U.S. economy since the start of the pandemic but has been exacerbated under the Biden administration.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a small business lobby group, reported that 51% of small business owners reported job openings that could not be filled in September, noting the figure marked a 48-year record high for the third straight month.

The Arkansas Traveler cited two other business owners in its story — a woman who owns a children's gymnastics facility and a man who operates several Supercuts salon franchises. Both told the outlet they have been duped by activity on their online job postings.

Several appeared to apply online but ended up leaving invalid contact information or not showing up for their interviews, the business owners noted.

They suspect applicants only wanted to prove that they were looking for jobs so that they could continue collecting unemployment.

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