Manufacturers are increasingly covering moving costs and other perks to entice skilled personnel such as welders, machine programmers and engineers to join their workforce.

With the unemployment rate at a 50-year low and a half a million U.S. factory jobs vacant, employers are getting creative, reports The Wall Street Journal.

For example,

At Caterpillar Inc.’s engine plant in Lafayette, Ind., the company said electricians and machine maintenance staff are eligible for $5,000 in moving expenses if they lived at least 75 miles from the plant before being hired….

Raytheon Co. is offering up to $5,000 in moving benefits for a $17-an-hour position as a machine operator at a factory in Arizona.

Not only large companies are taking this step. Columbus Hydraulics Co., which is 90 miles from Omaha in Columbus, Neb., is making cash payments to new hires to draw them to its factory there. In Scranton, Iowa, New Way Trucks is offering $1000 to workers to relocate, as it adds dozens of positions to shrink its backlog and reduce turn-around times.

Other employers are offering signing bonuses and raising wages to attract new skilled workers. Wage growth at U.S. manufacturers was the highest since 2016 in December, increasing 3 percent that month from a year earlier, the Journal reports.

Some employers are getting creative in other, smaller ways:

Joh Zink, a Koch Industries Inc. manufacturing company in Tulsa, Okla., gives out free steel-toed boots; a Globus Medical Inc. plant in Audubon, Pa., provides workers with YMCA memberships; [and] Whirlpool Corp is paying workers at a factor in Findlay, Ohio, a $250 six-month retention bonus.


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