Record unemployment equals record starting pay

BY Nicholas Ratcliff/Senior producer

Back in April 2021, employers began seeing a shocking trend of resignations across the country that seemingly came out of nowhere. By the end of April, America’s unemployment rate had shot up to 6.1% and showed zero signs of slowing down. 

As May approached, employers quickly tried to curb their declining hiring numbers by offering small starting bonuses and other one-off benefits to newly hired employees. While this helped, the month still ended up with a shocking unemployment rate of 5.9%. 

This shocked employers across the country as they started to realize it would take more than a one-off bonus to bring people back to work. 

As time went on, employers started to analyze the growing data. Initially, they thought Americans were tired of working and would eventually come back after the pandemic. 

However, as July ended with the same 5.9% unemployment rate, employers started to realize they were going to have to try something new. 

According to Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M who coined the term “Great Resignation,” there are two major problems that are leading people to not accept a job offer within certain industries. 

The first problem started well before the pandemic. According to Klotz, there was a backlog of workers who wanted to quit right before the pandemic started. 

They decided to stay at the time because they were unsure of their ability to find a new job. Now that they are a year and a few months into the pandemic, they have decided that the reward of finding a new job is worth the risk. 

On top of this, Klotz believes the second major factor contributing to the Great Resignation is the burnout within certain industries. This can be directly seen in the recent unemployment rates that were published about the healthcare, food service and technology industries, which showed the highest turnover numbers of any industry according to the Guardian. 

All of this has led to a huge increase in the amount of money companies are willing to pay thier hourly employees just to keep thier doors open. In fact, this change is so dramatic that even small towns across the country, such as Stephenville, are seeing the wide-reaching effects of the Great Resignation. 

Tarleton State University junior Aidan Straub has even noticed this change.

“I have looked for a job ever since I moved to Stephenville as a freshman. Back then, the typical starting wage was around eight an hour, and most places were fully staffed up,” Straub said. “But now it’s like a whole new job market. There are plenty of openings, and all of them are offering a higher wage than what they have in the past.”  

A notable example of this is the local Beans and Franks. On the drive through window there is a sign asking costmers to “please be patient with the staff that showed up,” while informing them they do not have enough people to be fully staffed.

Currently, there are over 213 jobs listed in Stephenville.

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