Signs of a Strong Economy: Hedges Are Overgrown and Lawns Need Mowing

Low levels of unemployment and high demand for H-2B visas mean there aren’t enough people working in landscaping.

Wall Street Journal
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Brian Friend sat at his kitchen table nursing a Friday-night beer this spring when he realized he would need to cancel $80,000 in landscaping contracts because he couldn’t hire enough workers.

“It was a low point,” said the 42-year-old Friend, who runs Sylvan Gardens Landscape LLC in Pittsburgh.

Like landscapers across the country, Mr. Friend has faced a severe labor shortage this year, spurred by low levels of unemployment and high demand for visas under the foreign seasonal-worker program known as H-2B. Higher wages and added bonuses haven’t attracted more workers, some landscapers say.

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