Gaeddert Seeing Lack of Work Ethic in Elkhart

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April 22, 2014 by   3 Comments

Doug Gaeddert

Doug Gaeddert

The March unemployment rate in Indiana’s Elkhart County dropped to 5.8%, its lowest level in six years, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Monday (April 21).

And yet the county’s rate has been much lower at times when it was easier for employers to find workers.

The Elkhart Truth reported that in the year 2000, the rate hovered in the 2% range all year. For the seven-plus years from 2001 through March 2008, the last time it was as low as 5.8%, the rate averaged 4.6%.

But take a ride down C.R. 6, or through any industrial area in Elkhart County, and you’ll see many companies posting “now hiring” signs out front.

Doug Gaeddert, a general manager at Forest River Inc. and chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), says the county seems to be at “virtual zero” unemployment. He said he thinks the community has simply grown lazier.

“Whether it’s cultural, whether it’s policy driven, (virtual zero) is higher because there aren’t enough folks that want to get up and bust their butts every day, plain and simple,” Gaeddert said following a recent meeting RVIA hosted to address a shortage of RV transport drivers. “It’s part federal government (for making unemployment benefits too plentiful), part cultural shift, but if you want to ask me, do I think we’re lazier than we were seven or eight years ago, absolutely. Go back and look, 3.5% or 4%, we were fully employed. Now it’s 6 percent, we’re fully employed. Why do you think?”

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3 Responses to “Gaeddert Seeing Lack of Work Ethic in Elkhart”

  1. Steve on April 22nd, 2014 5:04 pm

    Wow, talk about a well thought out comment – not. It has often struck me there is a tradition in the industry of degrading folks simply because they don’t do what you think they should do.

    People respond to contingencies. Finding employees has always been about wages, benefits, etc., so just maybe the industry needs to change its way of thinking, not members of the labor pool.

  2. Vernon Rice on April 22nd, 2014 8:39 pm

    From my many, many years in the RV business, I see where all of the consolidation of these giant companies have driven down the going wages. That in itself is one of the major concerns of why some of these people are sitting on the side lines. These companies figure that they do not have to pay the wages that some of these workers were used to making. It is all profit driven on their part.
    Boost the wages and I am sure you will see an influx of employment applications. That goes for delivery drivers also. The existing pay scale for them is with their financial outlay is is just purely slave labor and a non living wage. One breakdown and they could find themselves in hole in a heartbeat. For their investment, time and expenses, they really need to be paid in the area of $3.00 a loaded mile and the company they work for needs to do everything possible to get them a back haul of some type of rig or freight.

  3. Steve on April 24th, 2014 2:46 pm

    The transporter pay scale sounds like a problem. Several folks on the Internet are telling others the rate was so low they ended up losing money and are advising others it is a losing proposition.