Thirty-seven-year-old Joey Holz first heard about labor shortages last year at a clinic in Florida. He was donating convalescent plasma when the person working there began complaining about the unfilled jobs.
“The guy went on this rant about how he can’t find help and he can’t keep anybody in his medical facility because they all quit over the stimulus checks,” Holz said. “And I’m like, ‘Your medical professionals quit over $1,200 checks? That’s weird.‘”
After the appointment, Holz noticed more and more businesses complaining that nobody was applying for jobs at their companies because of the stimulus checks. However, despite many companies claiming this, he found it hard to believe that people stayed out of the workforce because of government money. Particularly when the shortages continued after the end of federal benefits.
“If this extra money that everyone’s supposedly living off of stopped in June and it’s now September, obviously, that’s not what’s stopping them,” he said. Plus, any workers stated that companies don’t offer competitive pay or benefits to entice potential hires.
So Holz, a former food-service worker, and charter-boat crewman decided to perform a job experiment. “Let’s do 30 days, two jobs a day. If I pick something up on the side, great. I’m already employed.”
Man Applies to 60 Jobs, Gets One Interview
Holz began by applying to jobs at two restaurants that were especially loud about their labor shortages. Then he applied to other companies talking about their lack of workers. All the while he tracked his applications in a spreadsheet.
After sending out 28 applications, he received nine email responses, one follow-up over the phone, and one interview. The interview came from a construction company that advertised a full-time position paying $10 an hour. But during the interview, the company tried to offer Florida’s minimum wage of $8.65 to start until the wage increased that September 30th. Plus, it would only schedule him for part-time work while wanting him to be available full-time.
In short, he only received one interview, which ended up paying less with fewer hours than advertised. Keep in mind, Holz qualified for all the jobs he applied for. Some wanted a high-school diploma while others wanted retail experience.
“Most of them either said ‘willing to train’ or ‘minimum experience,’ and none of them were over $12 an hour,” he said. “I didn’t apply for anything that required a degree. I didn’t apply for anything that said ‘must have six months experience in this thing.’“
Unfortunately, Holz isn’t the only one. Many people have opened up about their difficulties finding jobs despite the supposed labor shortages. And many people said so in the comments when he posted his findings on September 29. There Holz wrote: “58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves.” He added, “My opinion is that this is a familiar story to many.”
The Results of the Experiment
By the end of the month, Holz had sent out 60 job applications, received 16 email responses, found follow-ups via the phone, and the one interview. He shared a pie chart with his results.
While Holz admits his experiment may not represent the national wide labor challenges, since he only applied to local jobs that were loud critics of the government checks. Still, he adds that his boss has no issues with employees during the pandemic. “Nobody leaves those positions because he takes care of his people,” Holz said. 
With employees striking at companies like John Deere, Kelloggs, and Denver airport, Holz surmises, “It’s not that nobody wants to work. It’s that nobody wants to work for slave wages anymore.”
The U.S. Department of Labor states that wages are rising by $0.19 an hour in September. Holz interprets that as that people still want to work, but companies have to provide decent pay. “You’re like, ‘Oh no, I promise I’m trying to find you help, it’s just nobody wants to work.’ Nobody believes it anymore,” said Holz. 
Although he never expected his experiment to garner much attention, he hopes it could start a conversation about labor and wages in the United States. To further the experiment, Holz set up a Google forum where people could include their personal experiences in his dataset. 
Keep Reading: You Actually Only Need to Work 8 Hours per Week
- “A worker in Florida applied to 60 entry-level jobs in September and got one interview.” Business Insider. Dominick Reuter. October 19, 2021
- “Florida man goes viral after applying to 60 entry-level jobs, getting 1 interview.” KSBY. October 25, 2021
- “A man applied to 60 entry-level jobs and got just 1 interview.” News Channel 5. Tricia Goss.