In one North Dakota town, prospective McDonald's employees are netting a nice paycheck before they ever have to ask a customer if they want fries with that.
McDonald's workers are netting $300 bonuses just to sign on to work at the eatery in Dickinson, North Dakota, Businessweek reports. That's just one sign of a state currently reaping the benefits of an oil boom, sending the jobless rate plunging to 3.4 percent and engendering fierce competition among employers to find workers.
It's not uncommon for signing bonuses to proliferate during boom times. In the late 1990s Burger King offered managers a $5,000 signing bonus in a variety of cities to try to poach them from other fast food chains, according to a 1998 New York Times report. In Dallas, the school board tried to lure teachers with $1,500 signing bonuses during the same period of worker scarcity.
In North Dakota, the prospect of huge salaries is pushing prospective workers to change their lifestyles in a variety of ways. At Williston Sate College in Williston, North Dakota, students are dropping out, lured by the possibility of making $100,000 working on oil rigs, driving trucks or maintaining oil wells, according to CNNMoney.
The boom isn't only boosting the salaries of workers directly involved in the oil industry. With thousands of men moving to Williston to cash in on the boom, they're attending more strip clubs and strippers in the area have seen their salaries soar. In October, strippers claimed they could make $2,000 to $3,000 in tips in Williston, according to a separate CNNMoney report.
Even in a down economy with an elevated unemployment rate, some employers outside of the North Dakota are still using signing bonuses to lure top workers. Last year, investment bank Merrill Lynch gave some regional managers permission to use high signing bonuses to poach top talent from rival banks, according to an April report in Reuters.
In 2010, banks boosted their practice of offering new hires one-year "guaranteed bonuses," according a October report from The Institute for International Finance, an industry advocacy group.
But among America's biggest cities, where are the jobs? Find out below: