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And now states are paying people signing bonuses to go back to work

Have you had to deal with contractors of any sort over the last 12-14 months? Huge pain in the ass, right? Two moments stand out in my mind over that stretch of time: one with a fence installation company and another with a tree trimming business over the last few days. Monday, I had a guy come out who’s supposedly going to cut the trees. He works for the most respected tree trimming business in town. This guy told me that at the end of his 2020 season, he had six workers on his grounds crew. Today he has two.

“COVID unemployment,” he said Monday. And so the tree trimming world, if you didn’t already know, is a complete mess. Jobs are backed up by weeks or months at least. I asked a different tree business that was originally scheduled to do the work if they could give my locust tree a quick trim by mid-June. Nope, won’t guarantee anything. This company was supposed to do the work Sunday, May 16. Needless to say, I spent Monday banging my iPhone into my head over the nonsense going on in yet another industry. In 2020, our fence installation guy was behind by two months and then asked for a $100 tip because it was so hot when his crew installed the fence. Seriously.

Anyway, states are now incentivizing workers to return to jobs by offering signing bonuses up to $1,000 in Connecticut where workers have to stay at a full-time job for eight weeks in order for the bonus to kick in. The signing bonus deal is for the first 10,000 who step up and get off the couch. That’s right, one government program enticing workers to get off another government program. This isn’t just some program being used in the northeast. Idaho’s offered workers $1,500 to get back to work in 2020, and Montana is running a $1,200 signing bonus program. Arizona is going even bigger by offering $2,000 to workers who complete 10 weeks of full-time work. That’s right, $2,000 for two and a half months of just staying employed.

That’s just enough time to get some trees trimmed, fences installed, roofs roofed and driveways poured.

• Moving along to tech news, did you guys see that we’ve made it to the foldable technology stage in the history books? Samsung has unveiled new foldable OLED panels that will take flip phones and flip tablets to a whole new level. We’re talking up to a 17-inch foldable panel that you’ll soon be carrying around in your pocket. My dad is going to go crazy over this news, especially if Samsung makes a multi-panel foldable flip phone that he can clip to his belt. It’ll be the biggest news of his year.

•  Good luck to a huge Screencaps fan and my old canoe partner One Leg Bell as he tees off today in the U.S. Disabled Open at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, AZ. John Bell has one of the prettiest fades I’ve ever seen for a guy with one leg. He loads up the weight on his right leg and uncorks bombs.

If you’re disabled and looking to get into adaptive golf, but you’re just not sure about this whole new world while going through some difficulties, hit up John with a message. He’s one of the big-time ambassadors in the disabled golf world, and they don’t come much better than this guy. He even has the patience to work with us guys who have two functioning legs. The guy is an absolute saint.

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Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. I’ve been trying to hire a production person at my business for 3 months. My most recent job posting has been up on Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Glass Door, etc. for a month now (I change it once a month to refresh it) and I’ve gotten one applicant, who was not hireable, even in these conditions.

    I expect this from the libs, who expect the government to take care of them. What cracks me up is all these so called conservatives who are just as happy sitting at home on the welfare dime. I will make this as clear as I can… If you are sitting at home getting unemployment when you could be working, you are a piece of crap.

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