Small towns across America are in desperate need of workers--and in some cases, they'll even pay you to move there.
A number of small cities and towns in the U.S. are facing a real labor crisis. The Wall Street Journal reports that due to the 2007-2009 recession, the number of working aged people--aged 25 to 54--fell in small towns and rural areas, and grew 6 percent in major cities since 2008.
As a result, towns such as North Platte, Nebraska are recruiting individuals, instead of companies, one by one, to help revitalize their economies. The incentives come in all forms from student loan help and home buying grants, to gifted parcels of land and even town-wide ceremonies in your honor.
While these freebies aren't directly aimed at entrepreneurs, they are indeed open to them, as well as any potential employee you may bring with you. Naturally, the decision of where to set up shop is multifaceted--these locales aren't exactly startup hot spots, after all--but having a little extra edge isn't something to sneeze at.
Here are five of the small towns offering residents freebies:
1. North Platte, Nebraska
Last year the North Platte chamber of commerce started offering up to $10,000 to anyone who moves there for a job, in the hopes of helping the town of 24,000 fill some of its hundreds of job openings. They'll even present you a large check during a ceremony in your honor.
2. St. Clair County, Michigan
Bordering the west bank of the St. Clair River, the Michigan county north of Detroit recently raised its student-loan scholarships from $10,000 to $15,000 targeting young people who've left or moved away for school. The county's Community Foundation has received 40 applications and awarded eight grants since 2016.
3. Grant County, Indiana
The economic development office in Grant County, Indiana offers $5,000 toward a home for anyone moving to the area with advanced training or a college degree, granted you live there for at least five years. Separately, the chamber of commerce is developing a $9,000 scholarship program to help repay residents' student loans.
4. Hamilton, Ohio
Relocate to Hamilton, Ohio, located about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati, and the city promises $5,000 to help pay repay student loans to college graduates willing to move to the small city's urban core. About 5,800 jobs remain open in the city of 62,000 people.
5. Marne, Iowa
The small town of 120 has a free-lots program that offers any newcomers a free piece of land to build a home on. The state of Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.8 percent.