HELENA, Mont. (AP) - "The owner of a fast food joint in Montana's booming oil patch found himself outsourcing the drive-thru window to a Texas telemarketing firm, not because it's cheaper but because he can't find workers.
Record low unemployment across parts of the West has created tough working conditions for business owners, who in places are being forced to boost wages or be creative to fill their jobs.
John Francis, who owns the McDonald's in Sidney, Mont., said he tried advertising in the local newspaper and even offered up to $10 an hour to compete with higher-paying oil field jobs. Yet the only calls were from other business owners upset they would have to raise wages, too. Of course, Francis' current employees also wanted a pay hike.
"I don't know what the answer is," Francis said. "There's just nobody around that wants to work."
For places like Montana, it has been a steady climb in the nearly two decades since the timber and mining industry recession. The state approached double-digit unemployment levels in the 1980s and began the slow crawl back in the early 1990s.
"This is actually the biggest economic story of our time, and we don't quite grasp it because it is 15 years in the making," said economist Larry Swanson, director of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana."
Blah blah. And blah. This is precisely how a healthy economy is supposed to look. Workers being able to choose between good jobs and better ones. Every real economy, except for the ones liberals like to tinker with, is Darwinian with regards to business survival. The stronger ones adapt and franchise themselves, or reproduce, and the weaker fall by the wayside. The answer to business woes is NOT to import cheap labor because all that does is prop up the weak. This is one of those hilarious liberal media tales of woe; finding a success story and searching for the underlying tragedy that simply MUST be there.