Arizona Among States Playing The “Work Bonus Game”

Foodservice, retail, health-care and logistics jobs are now coming with an extra perk—signing bonuses, some as much as $1,000, the Wall Street Journal reports. Once the domain of professional athletes or some white-collar professions, hiring bonuses have exploded across all sectors this summer.

So far, 10 states, including Michigan, Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado and Kentucky, have gotten into the work bonus game to move people off unemployment.

Last month, close to 20% of all jobs listed on ZipRecruiter had a signing bonus, up from 2% of all jobs advertised on the online employment database in March. Such diverse industries as convenience stores, hotels, restaurants, warehouses, trucking, health-care and retail have jumped on the signing bonus bandwagon, with bonuses starting at $500 and ballooning up from there..

Now, $1,000 has fast become the benchmark for hourly worker recruitment.

Employers like cash signing bonuses because they don’t impact the hourly wage long term, according to Brad Hershbein, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “Businesses are jockeying for workers,” he said. “They are basically gambling they can hire workers for a one-time payment. They are going to try that first, and if it’s not enough, then they will have to do persistent wage increases.”