Working on the Railroad Is Pretty Lucrative in North Platte, Nebraska

Ed Lallo/ZUMAPRESS

Check this out. Railroads are having a hard time finding workers thanks to a tight labor market, so they’re trying out a bold new strategy:

Railroad workers are being offered signing bonuses of up to $25,000 to join BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Corp. as the freight railroads struggle to fill jobs in a historically tight labor market.

….Freight volumes are rising on strong economic growth and industrial expansion, and a shortage of available truck capacity is pushing more shipments onto rails. At the same time, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1% in the U.S., and as low as 2.8% in some markets where railroads are hiring.

In response, the companies are dangling incentives that analysts and union leaders say are the highest they can recall. Union Pacific is offering $10,000 to $20,000 “hiring incentives” to train crews in cities like Denver, Kansas City, Mo., and North Platte, Neb., where its largest rail yard is located. Those jobs average $40,000 in pay over the first year and $60,000 the next, according to job listings.

I wonder how that’s working out? In any case, if you like hard manual labor and don’t mind living in North Platte, that’s the place to be.