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What this small factory learned from Google and Airbnb

How this small factory is using Google-like perks to compete in a tight...

Unemployment in the U.S. is near record low levels.

In September 2019, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, a 50-year low, and it's been hovering around that in the months since.

In this tight labor market, with more jobs available than people to fill them, companies have to find new ways to recruit talent and retain current employees.

Perks like sleek office renovations, healthy snacks, and flexible work schedules are common at many technology companies in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Austin.

But with unemployment so low, and competition for skilled workers so fierce, firms outside of big cities are developing creative benefits to attract workers.

Take Warroad, Minnesota, for example. This rural town sits just six miles from the Canadian border and boasts a total population of about 1,700 people.

Marvin, the largest employer in town, and one of the largest in the region, is a century-old manufacturing company. As part of its effort to add to its workforce, the family owned company is taking a page out of Silicon Valley's playbook, and renovating all the common spaces in the factory. The project entails building new, sleek, modern break rooms inspired by offices from Google and Airbnb.

The bathrooms, often the most unappealing spaces on any production floor, got a makeover as well. The factory is also now adorned with private telephone booths and mobile lactation pods for new mothers.

And Marvin isn't just making changes to its physical work spaces; the company is also experimenting with a revamped work schedule.

The company introduced a new long weekend shift, offering employees flexibility and work-life balance. Employees with the new weekend schedule work 12-hour days Friday through Sunday, and thus are available Monday through Friday to shuttle kids to school and sports practice, work a second job, or pick up overtime shifts at Marvin.

Christine Marvin, a fourth-generation Marvin owner of the company and current vice president of design, says the updates reflect the changing times.

"We're in a new age, and we're in such a fast-paced digital world now where experiences are king," she says.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.