LOS ANGELES — At Los Angeles Metro’s one-day hiring event on Saturday, applicant Gloria Floyd was hoping to get the job.

“At my age now, I need all, I need everything that they’re offering," she said.

What You Need To Know

  • Metro is currently hiring more than 500 bus operators and is offering a $3,000 bonus for coming aboard

  • Employees would start at $17.75 per hour and earn $19.12 after six months, with incremental pay rate increases up to $27.31

  • A worker shortage that has touched several U.S. industries in the past year has hit the transportation sector particularly hard

LA Metro is offering a $3,000 dollar sign-on bonus, hourly pay starting at $17.75, along with benefits and flexible hours. The bonus and pay are attractive to Floyd because she would not have to work two jobs.

"I did look for other jobs but the wages were so low, you know bare minimum you could barely live off of it," she said.

Incentives and higher wages to attract workers are part a broader effort by employers facing labor shortages. Metro Deputy Chief Operations Officer of Bus Operations Conan Cheung wants to restore service to pre-pandemic levels but needs enough operators, and they are not alone.

"If you look across the country, you know the West Coast all the way to the East Coast, all of the transit agencies large and small are feeling this shortage in the workforce," said Cheung. 

Along with the labor shortage, inflation is at 6.8%, which is the highest in nearly 40 years. George Washington University Professor of Economics Dr. Tara Sinclair said they are directly related.

"Workers really have gotten more bargaining power and are asking for higher wages and are getting sign-on bonuses and higher wages. That means that the employers need to find a way to pay for that, and oftentimes it comes through as higher prices," she said.

Floyd is also feeling the pinch of inflation’s high prices, so even more reason why landing this job would be a positive change in her life.

"If I work here, I won’t have two jobs," she said.

It will take some time to get the economy balanced, but hiring incentives like those of Metro may help with the shortage of workers.