ECI Release Briefing: Indexed Business Costs to May 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

Labor costs are showing signs of a loosening job market and lower inflationary pressures. Hourly costs for several hospitality roles have actually come down from their peaks at the start of the year, while costs for most other roles across various sectors have been flat. Advance data suggest that costs may fall slightly in May.

While labor costs for custodial and higher-skill warehouse roles were climbing steadily as of our last briefing three months ago, they now appear to have plateaued. These trends reflect a labor market where supply is increasing and demand may be pulling back in light of continuing uncertainty about the economy.

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 May 2023 that have already been booked, where available:

Hospitality and food service

Hourly costs for most hospitality roles peaked after the holidays, possibly as a result of falling labor supply. Since then, hourly costs have come down by about 2%, though costs for cooks have been steadier.

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for bartender

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for busser

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for dishwasher

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for line cook

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for prep cook

Entertainment

Hourly costs for concession and stand workers have ticked upwards in the past two months as baseball season and other outdoor activities got underway. Labor costs for other events have been flat since February.

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for concession or stand worker

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for counter staff or cashier

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for event server

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for event setup and takedown

Industrial and other services

With the exception of another increase in March for custodial roles, labor costs in more industrial settings have been flat since February. Costs for higher-skill warehouse roles plateaued after a steady climb that began in the fourth quarter of 2022.

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for custodial

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for general labor

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for runner

24 Apr 2023 business cost trend for warehouse associate - entry level

24 Apr 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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