Amidst the cooling job market, blue-collar hiring and pay gains remain hot. This trend has seen blue-collar occupations such as truck driving and freight handling occupy the forefront while positions in finance, technology, and other traditionally high-salary, white-collar roles shrink.
The availability of jobs had already started to shrink in November of 2019 – the same month unemployment rates dropped to a 50-year low of 3.5%. This lull in employment and recruitment involves both the white-collar and blue-collar markets.
However, despite the recent cooling of the job market, blue-collar hiring and pay gains have managed to remain hot. This is likely due to the population’s continuing interest in transportation-related industries such as truck driving and freight handling. Trucks move over 70 percent of all freight shipped in the United States, and blue-collar jobs such as truck driving make up a significant part of the job market.
Payroll processor ADP found in its April 2020 report that “goods-producing” jobs, which include construction and manufacturing, increased by 49,000 in March despite the public health-related lull in employment. This could be related to the increase in blue-collar jobs as well, particularly since the goods-producing sector is a large category for blue-collar positions.
Furthermore, private sector employment in general has been on the rise since mid-March as employers have been more open to taking on informal or freelance workers instead of full-time employees, which has kept the blue-collar market ticking despite an overall slowing job market.
This trend is exacerbated by the lack of opportunities in other areas such as finance and software engineering as technology companies grapple with the current economy. By comparison, companies in the transportation and freight services industry are continuing to focus on blue-collar hiring and pay gains in order to stay competitive.
The ongoing trend of blue-collar hiring and pay gains is likely to continue as long as the job market as a whole remains stagnant. However, it is important to note that while the number of options in blue-collar jobs is increasing, job seekers should also make sure that they are paid fairly for their work. That way, blue-collar workers can continue to enjoy the benefits of hot hiring and pay gains even while the job market cools.