And you thought your commute was bad: Home improvement retailer Menard plans to fly 50 workers weekly from its headquarters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to a store in the booming town of Minot, North Dakota. A nearby oil patch has swelled the town's population to nearly 50,000 (up from 36,500 in 2000), and it's rebuilding in the wake of last year's record flooding. That combination of factors has led to strong demand for building materials, and as the only big-box building supply retailer in Minot, Menard is struggling to find job takers in a town with just a 2.3% unemployment rate.
Menard intends to train the workers at Wisconsin stores and send them to Minot "as soon as possible," says a rep for the company, which says the plan "is going to be a permanent solution for as far as we can see." Those who make the more than 500-mile commute will be housed in hotels. The AP notes that Menard has offered a starting wage of $13 an hour at the Minot store. (Read more Minot, North Dakota stories.)