Companies offering bonuses, flexibility and other benefits to fill positions in a competitive job market

NEW YORK — Low unemployment means it’s still a tight labor market for employers.

According to the Labor Department, jobless claims fell by 2,000 to a total of 184,000 last week. This is the lowest level in more than 50 years.

Experts say this is good news for candidates, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Friday.

There is no shortage of work for Andre Benjamin and Pasquale Alfonso, who work for Ultimate Sound & Installations.

“There is a high demand for a lot of work to be done. Trust me, I know,” Alfonso said.

Although there is a high demand, they are understaffed, like everyone else.

“It’s hard to find good help,” Benjamin said.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all problem. The labor market is tight in almost all sectors.

“And it’s not all these lower-level jobs that people think of. It’s not just Starbucks and Trader Joe’s. They’re great jobs, but there are so many jobs in finance, in the legal services. Every bank is hiring. Every law firm is hiring,” said workplace expert Stephen Viscusi.

Viscusi says it’s a great time to look for a job and there are plenty of opportunities that didn’t exist before.

“If you don’t have a college degree, you could go work for a company that’s willing to pay for a college degree in the future,” Viscusi said.

With so many vacancies, experts say applicants have more power than ever.

“People looking for work are in control,” said David Lewis, who runs OperationsInc, a human resources consultancy.

Lewis said many companies offer perks for recruiting talent, such as the flexibility to work from home, higher salaries and signing bonuses.

“So candidates benefit greatly, not only from being able to find that work-life balance and flexibility and work from home,” Lewis said, “But they also walk away, if they play their cards right, with a bonus, not at the end of their freshman year, but before they even start.”

Many companies are also signaling that they will raise wages to retain talent as inflation soars.

There are approximately 11 million job openings in the United States right now. Thus, experts predict that this labor shortage could persist until 2023.

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