Monthly Labor Market Report - September 2022

Every day, the Instawork platform handles thousands of transactions involving businesses and hourly professionals, generating a huge amount of data on hourly pay as well as other aspects of the labor market. This report summarizes some of the major trends in demographics, roles, and worker constraints in regions across the United States.

Key Points

  • Pay was stable in most service roles in September 2022, but high demand for concession/stand workers as fall sports seasons got underway led to higher hourly rates.
  • Expectations for trends in pay during October 2022 are largely downward, especially production and sales, suggesting an expectation of lower demand.
  • The Las Vegas area continues to rely more on flexible work, while growth in Orlando and Miami was relatively slow for the second straight month.

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The data are also compiled into the Instawork Pay Signal Index (PSI) and indexed trends in hourly pay. Because businesses can book shifts in advance on the Instawork platform, the metrics include forward-looking data for the current month as well. Please refer to the appendix for explanations of the methods behind each metric.

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index - national

Recent growth in flexible work

Because flexible work is one of several options that workers might have in the labor market, increases in flexible work may mean decreases in other areas. The following statistics measure differences in shift work booked on the Instawork platform (measured in hours), month over month:

 

Regions with the highest growth of flexible work Regions with the lowest growth of flexible work
1. Las Vegas, NV 1. Columbus, OH
2. Denver, CO 2. Miami, FL
3. Houston, TX 3. Orlando, FL
4. Baltimore, MD 4. Washington D.C.
Roles with the highest growth of flexible work Roles with the lowest growth of flexible work
1. Concession / stand worker 1. Busser
2. Event server 2. Busser
3. Runner 3. Warehouse associate - intermediate
4. Line cook 4. Dishwasher

Technical note: To control for the growth of the Instawork platform, only business locations that have participated for at least two months before the start of the comparison period are included. Changes in hours are included only for roles for which businesses booked shifts during both months.

Demographics of flexible workers

3 Oct 2022 gender breakdown for jobs package

3 Oct 2022 race breakdown for jobs package

Pay Signal Index

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for building and grounds cleaning

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for food preparation and serving

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for personal care and service

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for production

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for sales

3 Oct 2022 Pay Signal Index for transportation and material moving

Indexed trends in hourly pay 

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for bartender

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for busser

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for concession or stand worker

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for counter staff or cashier

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for custodial

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for dishwasher

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for event server

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for event setup and takedown

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for general labor

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for line cook

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for prep cook

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for runner

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for warehouse associate - entry level

3 Oct 2022 pay trend for warehouse associate - intermediate

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Methodological Appendix

Instawork PSI (Pay Signal Index)

The PSI gauges the overall direction of changes in hourly pay from month to month, much the way a purchasing managers’ index measures supply chain activity.

To begin, for each month, we measure the average hourly pay offered by each business on our platform for each role in each region. If the business offered shifts for the same role in the same region during the previous month, we record whether the average rose or fell. A rise is recorded as +1, a fall as -1, and no change as 0.

Next we weight this signal by the average number of shifts the business offered for that role across the two months. For example, if the business offered 10 shifts for line cooks in the Houston area during February and 18 shifts for the same role in the same region during March, then the weight would be 14.

We group these weighted signals by the Census Bureau’s occupational categories and take the weighted average for each category. Then we multiply the weighted average by 50 and add it to 50. This yields a PSI between 0 and 100. At 0, the PSI implies that all businesses in the sample offered lower pay. At a PSI of 100, all businesses offered higher pay. At a PSI of 50, businesses that raised or lowered pay did so with equal weight (or loosely, equal numbers of shifts).

At present we cover six major occupational categories. These are the numbers of workers they represented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ counts of hourly workers in 2021, and their shares of the total reported number of hourly workers:

Screen Shot 2022-03-28 at 10.43.20 AM

To create a national PSI, we calculate a weighted average by weighting the PSI for each occupational category by its share of hourly workers above. The resulting national PSI represents occupational categories that cover roughly 44% of hourly workers in the American labor force.

Indexed trends in hourly pay

Sample selection for our pay trends is similar to the method for the PSI. Businesses that book shifts for the same role in the same region during consecutive months are the units of observation. For each pair of months, we calculate the change in the average hourly pay offered for the given role in the given region. Examples of roles are line cooks, forklift drivers, and custodial staff.

Next, as for the PSI, we weight the changes in pay by the average number of shifts across the two months. Then we calculate a weighted average of the changes at a national level for each role. To create an indexed trend, we have chosen July 2021 as the starting point, where the indexed hourly pay for each role is set to 100. We then use the monthly changes to map the trend from August 2021 onward.

At present we publish the indexed trends in hourly pay for 14 of the roles staffed on our platform:

Screen Shot 2022-03-28 at 10.47.23 AM

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