Alabama Finds Few Farm Employers Willing to Hire Jobless Residents

Alabama Finds Few Farm Employers Willing to Hire Jobless Residents

11/11/2011

 

With the new immigration law of Alabama scaring off a hundreds of undocumented workers, the state is trying to connect jobless legal residents who wanted to work in the beleaguered agriculture industry. However, it appears that local farmers are thinking that the work may be too strenuous for most Americans.

Just this month, Gov. Robert Bentley announced the launch of the project “Work Alabama,” which would capitalize on existing services to link job seekers with current openings on various farms and respond to the complaints of employers about the loss of Hispanic workers who have fled the state.

Bentley, during the launch of the initiative, said, “The industries in our state that provide thousands of manual-labor jobs are a foundational part of Alabama’s economy. I want these employers to know that we are here to help them while they provide much-needed jobs to Alabamians who are looking for work.”

However, as of Wednesday, although 335 job seekers have signed up for seasonal agricultural jobs, there were only three employers offering 48 openings, many of which do not start until January of next year. This was revealed by state officials in an interview with a television news station.

The unemployment rate of Alabama last month was at 9.8%, which is higher than the national average of 9.1%. But some farmers complained that Americans are unable or unwilling to do the work that Hispanic migrant workers did.

A potato farmer said that he hired Americans to work on his farm, but said that they showed up late, worked slower and are ready to call it quits after just one day.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com