by KJZZ Business News, Your NPR Station
Photo by Casey Kuhn – KJZZ
The Phoenix economy is recovering, and more buildings are going up. Local nurseries are growing to meet their landscaping needs too, but have trouble getting labor to keep up with the demand. The federal government’s response is to bring more temporary visa workers for companies that can’t find Americans willing to do the work.
Beneath the scorching sun, Guatemalan workers move containers of small green sprouts from a flatbed to the ground under a long shade at a busy nursery north of Phoenix.
It’s repetitive, boring and hot. The nursery workers are wearing long shirts, pants and a hat to keep their skin protected.
This work goes on all day around the rows of cactus and flowering oleanders. They’re paid hourly, starting at $10 an hour and up to $20. The nursery can’t find American workers willing to take the job.