Would $10,000 convince you to move to small-town Nebraska?
“Relocate to [Hamilton, Ohio] and the city promises $5,000 to help pay student loans. Pack up for Grant County, Ind., and claim $5,000 toward buying a home. Settle in North Platte, Neb., and the chamber of commerce will hold a ceremony in your honor to present an even bigger check.”
—How bad is the labor shortage? Cities will pay you to move there, Wall Street Journal [paywall]
Start spreading the news
I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
North Platte, North Platte!
That’s how it goes, right? Maybe you’ll change your tune, too, once you hear about the $10,000 check you’ll get when you relocate to this city in southwest Nebraska. North Platte, population 24,733, is one of a growing number of municipalities across the country that are trying to recruit new citizens with cold, hard cash.
It’s easy to see why this is happening. Student loan debt is at an all-time high, while the rebounding economy is fostering low unemployment in the urban hubs to which those indebted grads flock. On the other hand, there’s a major labor shortage in the once-Recession-shocked, now-recovering larger towns and smaller cities these Millennial-types left behind in the first place.
As the Wall Street Journal details and earlier efforts by other towns have shown, the North Plattes of the world face an uphill battle. A wide range of economic and professional opportunities draw ambitious young people to big cities—despite seeming drawbacks like high rent. Even if a big cash incentive to put down roots somewhere with a far lower cost of living sounds like a no-brainer—especially if you’re in debt or looking to purchase a home—the bright lights of New York City (or Omaha) still have a mystical pull.
That said, given the financial burdens faced by young people today, I won’t be surprised if these small-town offers become more popular. Some rural areas are actually growing their populations of people in their 30s and 40s. Big-city twentysomethings burned out by the gig economy might be next.
It’s up to you, North Platte, North Platte!