Do New Mexicans want to work or is welfare more attractive?

There are certainly plenty of hard-working people in the Land of Enchantment, but this story from Milan Simonich at the Las Cruces Sun-News should give both our policymakers and the rest of us pause. The story is of a cookie plant in Deming, NM, a rural area with relatively high unemployment. Despite high unemployment, the factory has been unable to find people who are willing to work.

This, despite eliminating a costly and probably unnecessary drug test; also, despite offering pay incentives and rapid pay increases;

So, the owner has automated, thus taking his plant from 48 people down to 41. But he still has problems finding workers who will show up.

What is going on? While RGF cites the problems associated with government-imposed minimum wages, that really isn’t the problem here as the worker is willing to pay the minimum wage, but still can’t find reliable workers.

As with all major problems, the issue is one of incentives:

The federal government and New Mexico have increasingly offered generous welfare benefits. According to a new Cato Institute report, the various welfare programs given by the federal and state governments to residents of New Mexico pay the equivalent of $13.41 an hour (see Table 3). Why would you go to work for $7.50 an hour when sitting on your butt pays almost double?

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4 Replies to “Do New Mexicans want to work or is welfare more attractive?”

  1. Well,clearly $ 13.41 NOW is better than $ 7.50. But, with some experience, such as coming to work on time and being productive, the $ 7.50 now, in time,could lead to much more.
    I doubt that state and federal welfare programs can last forever. I sure hope not!!!!!!!!

  2. The biggest problem in finding employees is the number who can’t pass a drug test al though they know it is mandatory.
    The largest biggest problem is cultural. They are comfortable living on welfare, sometimes working odd jobs for cash, enjoying friends and lack of demands made on them. Most of these are second to fifth generation of welfare recipients. Recent arrivals from Mexico want a better life and they really work!
    One fully employed first generation American born parent commenting about his sons who work during the summer at Border Foods, a local chile processing plant, then collect unemployment until it runs out, “They think unemployment is paid vacation.”

  3. Is it true that New Mexico now run a process management model for welfare benefits which make it more efficient to process and issue welfare benefits? Do the clients like this model and do the workers have more job satisfaction as a result? I’m really curious.

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