HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii's unemployment rate continues to drop, employers are getting competitive when it comes to providing enticing jobs for a shrinking labor pool.
The state's unemployment rate is down to 2.7 percent in July. That's lower than in June, and the lowest its been in the last 10 years.
But Oahu Transit Services and many employers are finding it hard to attract qualified applicants with a shrinking pool of available labor, so TheBUS is displaying digital signs asking for applicants on its buses.
"This is new. This is the first time we've done it. It's a new avenue. It's just another way to get the word out there that we're looking for more qualified applicants," said Jenny Lemaota, OTS senior vice president and general manager.
City Mill is another company in need of workers.
"We have been ten years as the best place to work. You'd think people would come to us. But there are lot of people hiring, a lot of competition out there," Steven Ai said.
Beth Busch organizes job fairs at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. She expects more than 250 companies at next month's fair, the most ever.
"It's getting desperate," she said. "We have people who are going with large sign-on bonuses, more flexibility in scheduling, whatever they need to do to try to get these people on board."
To attract new hires and those looking to change jobs, some businesses are offering higher wages and adding perks.
She said Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard will pull out the stops to fill its openings.
"They usually do their big hiring push in January. But they've been given permission now to do direct hiring so they can make offers at the job fair. I've never seen that before. That's a first," she said.
TheBUS is trying to remain competitive with packages offered by private tour bus companies.
"We do have a very good package here," Lemaota said. "Along with starting off at approximately $22 an hour you do get medical, dental and retirement."
Busch said as long as unemployment stays low employers will have a hard time finding the right people for the job.