The unemployment rate is down nationally, and atrecord lows in at least 13 states around the country. While that'sgreat news for job seekers, employers looking to hire and keept thebest talent are facing stiff competition.

While many in the industry scoffed when perks such as free food,game rooms and other perceived frivolities started trending in thetech industry, such perks proved to be theforebearers of more refined, purpose-driven benefits--and there'sresearch to back them up.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.