State Rep Goodwin declares intent to shut down Job Service offices next session

This item just popped up from State Representative Tim Goodwin. Due to seeing a large number of help wanted signs, in his latest legislative column Goodwin indicates that he intends to bring measures to shutter the job service offices, and to end unemployment benefits during the next legislative session:

For the life of me, I can’t understand why there are unemployment offices when there are Help Wanted signs everywhere. We should close our unemployment offices. Chalk it up as a success of the times; thank the bureaucrats who have worked there. Give them dibs on any other state jobs that open up and actually decrease government!! Now that’s a novel idea. Wait a second. If the workers (I know I shouldn’t call them bureaucrats) who run the unemployment office can’t find a job, and that’s what they’ve been doing, what their entire existence has been (placing job candidates into jobs), well then there is not much hope for them, is there?

Seriously, let’s shut down our unemployment offices, as they are no longer needed, and while we are at it, let’s eliminate state unemployment, government unemployment benefits i.e. checks. Now we are getting someplace. If no one in our great state gets unemployment payments, I guess that would be incentive enough to go to work.

Sounds simple and it is. I repeat let’s shut down all unemployment offices in our state and stop all unemployment payments to those who are milking the system, thus forcing them to work or go hungry. Man! Tim, that’s kind of harsh, isn’t it? Yep. We live in harsh times. When just about every business is pleading for workers and have Help Wanted shingles posted, it is time to pull the trigger. No, this isn’t hyperbole. I’m serious! I’m prepared to introduce two bills this next Legislative Session: bill #1 eliminating the unemployment agency. I believe the official bureaucratic name is Job Service. Bill #2 eliminate all state unemployment checks.

Read the entire column here.

I don’t think “eliminating job service” is as easy as Representative Goodwin thinks.

In addition to the able bodied run of the mill person on the street,  I’m pretty sure Job Service is connected to helping veterans find jobs as they return to civilian life, as well as vocational rehab, and helping people navigate services including connecting people with jobs they might otherwise not be aware of.

Really..How many graphic design firms, or computer data centers post a “help wanted” sign in their window?  Is someone supposed to drive by every dairy farm in the state if they are looking for that kind of work?  Yes, everyone wants efficiencies, and we see help wanted signs posted around town.

So why would anyone want legislation to eliminate one of the state’s primary places where job seekers and employers come together?

26 thoughts on “State Rep Goodwin declares intent to shut down Job Service offices next session”

  1. I stead of this, re-implement policies that evidently are no longer in place. Limit unemployment benefits to a certain number of weeks, decrease the amount of benefits, make recipients seriously look for work with proof weekly they are trying, and if there is a job they can physically do they must take it. Florida has taken steps to decrease unemployment and encourage return to work — follow that model.

    Biden’s extra generous government largesse is purposely encouraging more teliance on government. This is completely wrongheaded but not unexpected from the dems.

    We need to get back to personal responsibility, an idea completely alien to the dems. I know they will object to the word alien, but…

    1. Springer makes infinitely more sense than Goodwin.

      I’m all for a safety net. I’m not for encouraging people to not work.

    2. This “generous benefit” amounts to $7.50 per hour (300 divided by 40 equals 7.50). $7.50 is probably more than most SD employers want to pay.

      1. South Dakota’s minimum wage is $9.45 an hour. Tipped wages are half that, but end up well over the $9.45 rate. Workers at my retail business, with benefits and bonuses, made $18 to $22 an hour. And we were happy to pay it, because good people are worth it. Most employers think the same way and pay accordingly.

        Your slander is noted.

  2. I’ll sign Goodwin’s bill and promote it. Used to have a relative who asked me for a job every winter and sign on his sheet with a no sorry. Spring work on a cattle ranch could use five times the permanent number of employees but in the winter; as in highway construction few are truly needed. After that he said he has to ask so many people who will sign in order to collect Unemployment pay.

    1. I had the same experience. The guy KNEW we weren’t hiring, but asked anyway just to get the “No” on his paperwork to keep on unemployment.

  3. The post author is correct, there is going to be way more to it than Goodwin imagines. Post author also is correct that using one person’s anecdotal observations is not the way to operate either a government agency, or a business. How many businesses have the “Help Wanted” sign up constantly because they can’t keep employees? How many have the signs up all the time because they don’t pay enough to actually get positions filled?

    I don’t want to see people just sitting around when they could be doing something productive. I’d have liked to see this COVID unemployment deal contingent on people actually being able to work. If the employers reopen and they give those laid off folks a chance to return to work but the employees turn it down, that should be documented and the assistance limited or even ended.

  4. can agree with some of what Representative Goodwin is trying to do. He is overly simplifying the answer.

    Job service does more than just a clearing house of unemployment claims and list job openings. They also facilitate job training. The help new employer find local employees. Not all jobs available is a help wanted sign in the front window. The job service is to help bring employer and employee together.

    Ending unemployment benefits? On it face it sounds like a great idea, people will either go hungry or get a job or two, maybe three. Unemployment benefits are paid for by the employer, for when through no fault of their own, an employee is unable to work. We have seen of a lot of that this past year. It is going to take one to two years to get back to any where close to where we were before the pandemic.
    Unemployment by it design is to be a safety net, meant to put food on the table until a new (better) job could be found.

    Granted some people have found a way to milk the system. The Job service workers have a good idea of who they are. We need to bring back some of the old rules and enforce them. Not just end the service. Some time ago the legislature used to have a summer sunset committee that would take hard look at the various departments, and if department wasn’t needed for what ever reason, it got cut during the next legislative session, It might be time to bring that back.

  5. I agree with the old saying, “A fair days work for a fair wage.” But I bring to the forum the plight of working moms who are challenged to find a safe, affordable and reliable child care provider. This issue is related to workforce availability and could be incorporated into the unemployment services offered at Jobs Service.
    BTW – do you know that ANYONE can open a child care/preschool and take care of 12 or less children with no oversight? It’s no wonder 1 out of 4 children in SD are sexually abused. As citizens of this great state we need to address and protect the vulnerable.

  6. Just remember unemployment tax is tied to the future fund. So if you try to get rid of the unemployment tax you are hitting the governors slush fund.

    1. Why does this fund not need approval by the legislature? One would think the Benda ordeal would have presented some oversight.

    2. [gasp!] Not the Futures Fund!! Without this money how will we be able to attract more corporate grifters like The trū Shrimp Company to establish production facilities in our state.

      /sarcasm fully intended.

  7. Classic Rapid City attitude: a low wage, low skill job is a great job. How many times did Troy and I hear complaints that new companies coming to town there might (horrors!) drive up wages?

  8. Overly simple solution to a more complex issue. BTW why do we have to call state employees working an honest job and providing services to SD citizens “Bureaucrats”?

    1. A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes someone within an institution of government or corporate.

  9. Employers consider a large gap in an employment history to be a red flag, therefore the longer one is unemployed, the less employable.
    Many years ago, during the Clinton administration, the welfare-to-work rules went into effect. A Smithfield recruiter told me the Job Service staff had told her that it was taking the average welfare mother three jobs before she finally got the hang of getting up and going to work everyday. I noticed this difficulty as a supervisor of people returning to the labor force after a prolonged absence. Getting up and going to work every day is a habit, hard to set and easy to break, Many of them had to be let go during their probationary 90 days due to very poor attendance. 90% of success consists of showing up, and people who have been unemployed for a long time just can’t do it very well.
    So what if a job pays only minimum wage if it gets them back into the habit of getting up and going to work every day?
    The longer this unemployment/stimulus circus continues the less employable people will be. Whatever is necessary to end it must be accomplished.

  10. Not even worth commenting on such a simplistic and naive idea but there are a few reforms that are needed. Unfortunately there are many federal regulations that also govern unemployment services that have proven nearly impossible to change. The number one change that would help immensely would be the unemployment office would need to sign off on the applicant applying for jobs. If I’m 400# and walk with a cane, the odds of me getting a job that requires a fair amount of physical labor are slim and none. But that’s what they do and get their 3 rejections they need to stay on unemployment.
    I use the unemployment office quite a lot for my workforce and it’s an excellent resource for both parties. Tying it to government benefits is the only way to ensure the most efficient use of resources.

    1. you use the Job Service instead of a private agency, right?
      There are private businesses operating as employment agencies and people who really want jobs use them. I also believe that employers who want real employees use them, too.
      People who don’t really want jobs seem to gravitate to the state-run Job Service. And I am skeptical of the kind of jobs one can get there. My own experience with a Job Service-arranged interview was so bad I decided to give up collecting unemployment benefits than ever go through such a thing again.
      They sent me to a place which was supposedly a medical clinic. It was decorated with red velvet flocked wallpaper and heavy red velvet drapes behind which I could hear giggling. I proceeded down the hall to an office for the interview with a man who was wearing a polyester shirt open to the waist and a gold chain. The only question he asked was “are you married?” That was all he wanted to know.
      Another time I visited the job service there was a listing for a supervisor for a nursing facility. But the listing didn’t require a nursing degree or license. When I asked why, they told me they had eliminated educational requirements from their job listings. What??? Why would a legitimate employer ever agree to such a job listing?
      So from my limited experience with state run Job Services is that their postings are spurious or erroneous and not very helpful.

      There are private agencies which will do a better job, and the employees you find through a private agency will too.

  11. To all of you good folks who think it’s fine for Donald Trump to make and spend billions while paying just $750 in income tax… why does it bother you so much that an ordinary guy or gal gets a little unemployment assistance while they’re temporarily without work through no fault of their own?

    1. In this economy, nobody is unemployed for long “through no fault of their own” so i assume you support a limited time to get unemployment. Six months ok with you?

      1. I don’t know what the time limit should be, honestly. But I am sure most people aren’t going to rush down to a fast food joint so they can start work the next day. Not necessarily the best resume enhancer.

        Some jobs do take time to find. Not everybody is as talented as you, Troy. They are not equally employable, even in low unemployment times.

        But my main point is… why you aren’t so offended when billionaires get hundreds of millions in tax deductions while enjoying their fancy penthouse and country club? We don’t like paying over ten times what Donald Trump does in income taxes. We don’t have a private jet or membership in some swanky club. Just South Dakota middle class types.

        1. Elk,

          The issue is Job Service and unemployment benefits and the timeline to receive them. Changing the subject to tax policy is just a form of a red herring logic fallacy.

          How about you answer the pertinent question vs. trying to change the subject?

          P.S. People who take transitional jobs while looking for a permanent job are more impressive than a person who has a 6+ month gap in employment history. Ask anyone in HR or who has a company.

  12. Mr. MC, you might recall the sunset committee business was replaced with another, more useless summer committee process by some law bill. You may also not recall that the sunset committees resulted in the elimination of exactly zero departments, ever.

  13. Representative Goodwin is a person of great character. He is willing to take a stand to start the conversation. In this case, the prediction is he will hit a wall.

  14. Rep. Goodwin, is once again, clueless. South Dakota’s unemployment rate is 3.3% – which in all purposes is nearly full employment. That said, where are these high paying, benefitted jobs that Rep. Goodwin seems to think are all over the place? One must admit that most of the jobs touted by the Governor and the Sec. of Labor and Regulation pay less than $20/hour and have little to no benefits – particularly no medical insurance (many are temporary positions in the tourism industry). I challenge anyone to live on $18/hour while supporting a household of 4 or 5 while paying for health insurance – good luck. Rep. Goodwin’s comments regarding “milking the system” are outlandish, derogatory and offensive. Tell that to the 120 logging folks from Hills City Rep. Goodwin. Are they “milking the system” once they become unemployed? Or are you thinking, Rep. Goodwin, they can be “retrained” to be solar or wind power operators/installers? If so, you’re smoking the same stuff that doorknob John Kerry is. All in all, the SD Dept. of Labor and Regulation is doing a fairly good job of trying to be a hub for most of the jobs available in South Dakota while helping folks gain some new skills from time to time. Unfortunately, off-handed and erroneous statements like those bloviated by Rep. Goodwin don’t help the cause. Bottom line, Rep. Goodwin, go through the unemployment process yourself to see just what hoops and hurdles you need to jump through and over before you come to these totally wrong conclusions.

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