Business owner picks up gas tab for employees amid soaring inflation, labor shortages

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Driftwood Garden Center CEO Craig Hazelett explained on Wednesday what prompted him to pick up the cost of gas for his workers even though he said it “certainly affects the bottom line.” 

Driftwood Garden Center, which has stores in Florida, employs 104 people, and the CEO noted that starting in February, he gave his full-time workers an extra $50 each paycheck for gas and his part-time workers $30. 

Hazelett noted that in April he increased wages for those workers by between 20 and 30%. 

“We decided we had to do something just because of how hard the ability to get employees is right now,” Hazelett said on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Wednesday, adding that he didn’t want to lose the existing workers he had. 

FED HIKES RATE BY MOST SINCE 1994 TO BATTLE INFLATION

On Wednesday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped again remaining below the $5 threshold. 

Gas reached $5 a gallon more than a week ago.

The price declined by a fraction to $4.86, according to AAA, which is still about 20 cents higher than the month before. 

Millions of Americans have been experiencing financial strain as inflation remained painfully high in May, with consumer prices hitting a new four-decade high that exacerbated the situation. 

The Labor Department said earlier this month that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 8.6% in May from a year ago. Prices jumped 1% in the one-month period from April. Those figures were both higher than the 8.3% headline figure and 0.7% monthly gain forecast by Refinitiv economists. 

The data marks the fastest pace of Inflation since December 1981. 

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped again remaining below the $5 threshold.  (iStock / iStock)

Price increases were widespread: Energy prices rose 3.9% in May from the previous month, and are up 34.6% from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 48.7% more than it did one year ago and 7.8% more than it did in April. In all, fuel prices jumped 16.9% in May on a monthly basis, pushing the one-year increase to a stunning 106.7%. 

Meantime, according to the latest data available, Americans continued to quit their jobs at a rapid pace in April, emphasizing how persistent turmoil in the labor market has made it difficult for employers to fill open positions.

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The number of job openings fell slightly to 11.4 million by the end of April – the second-highest level on record, but below the upwardly revised figure of 11.8 million in March. There is a gap of roughly 5.46 million between openings and the number of available workers, suggesting the labor market is still extremely tight. That is below the difference of about 5.6 million in March.

Hazelett told host Neil Cavuto on Wednesday that he plans to continue paying for his employees’ gas “as long as we need to.”

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