ECI Release Briefing: Indexed Business Costs to February 2023

Transactions on the Instawork platform track the pay of hourly workers and the total cost of their shifts to local businesses. This briefing includes indexed cost trends for various roles in regions across the United States and Canada. 

Because the Instawork platform is part of a competitive labor market for hourly work, the trends shown here for total business costs are expected to follow the costs of other sources of staffing over time. Data used in this briefing may include data on future shifts that have been booked on the Instawork platform but have not yet taken place.

Business cost trends

Against a backdrop of lower inflation, business costs of flexible labor on an hourly basis have been fairly flat in the past several months. Advance data suggest that labor supply issues could push up costs in some hospitality roles, but the overall picture is one of stability. This is especially true for lower-skill roles like general labor and counter staff, whose costs have barely budged in more than a year.

By contrast with hospitality, costs are stalled in most entertainment-related roles. Costs for event servers are back where they were in July 2022. Across all sectors covered here, only custodial roles continue to exhibit steadily rising costs, having risen roughly 6% in the past year.

Here are the trends in business costs for 14 roles transacted on the Instawork platform where we have sufficient data for a time series beginning in July 2021. The charts include data for shifts in February 2023 that have already been booked, where available:

Hospitality and food service

Falling labor supply after the holidays has pushed up costs for some hospitality roles, including small increases for dishwashers and cooks.

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for bartender

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for busser

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for dishwasher

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for line cook23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for prep cook

Entertainment

After rising during the spring and summer of 2022, costs in entertainment have been steady or falling, with the biggest drop for concession and stand workers after a peak in May 2022.

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for concession or stand worker23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for counter staff or cashier

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for event server

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for event setup and takedown

Industrial and other services

Business costs for custodial work and runners have kept ticking upward after being stable during the middle of last year. Costs in other roles, particularly in warehouse work, have been fairly steady.

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for custodial

23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for general labor23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for runner23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for warehouse associate - entry level23 Jan 2023 business cost trend for warehouse associate - intermediate

 

We will continue to track these changes in business costs in the quarters to come. We welcome your suggestions for additions to this briefing.

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