‘Tight’ Labor Markets: The Snow Removal Edition

We travel to Maine for today’s edition of ‘I support basic economics, except when that means I have to pay workers more’ (odd how that works out; boldface mine):

Here’s a chilling sign that low unemployment has its downsides: Maine can’t find enough snowplow drivers.

The state Department of Transportation has about 50 openings among about 700 positions and expects 30 snow storms in the season that stretches from mid-November to mid-April. Exacerbating the problem: some cities like Portland hire their own drivers and pay more, and private sector demand for experienced drivers is also high.

It’s really the shortage of workers,” said Dale Doughty, the Maine transportation department’s director of maintenance and operations.

What to do?

Portland, the state’s largest city, offers drivers starting wages that are about $5 more an hour than the state Department of Transportation, which pays drivers between $13.54 and $18.46 an hour with a potential $1,000 winter bonus, according to officials.

Almost like you have to pay people more or something….

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