Hourly Workers & The Labor Market
Hourly workers are people you know: the crew that mows your lawn or cleans your house, the barista at your neighborhood coffee shop, or the plumber who unclogs your drain. They make up one of the backbones of our economy and our society. Their work is noble and vital to our lives.
Hourly wage earners perform work that everyone relies on.
Unskilled labor provides a significant part of the overall labor market. These workers, by definition, perform jobs that can be fully learned in less than 30 days. Semi-skilled workers, like delivery drivers and customer service reps, plus skilled laborers such as electricians and lab techs, make up another tranche of the hourly wage earner market.
The National Employment Law Project reported in November 2015 that hourly wage earners make up 42% of all workers, some 60 million of whom earn less than $15 per hour.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the demand for unskilled and low-skilled hourly workers will increase significantly between now and 2024. At the same time, the gap is widening between unskilled and skilled workers as jobs that formerly required minimum skills, like manufacturing, truck driving or repair, now require advanced knowledge and familiarity with technology.
This work is tough to do and getting tougher to learn and complete.
Despite their large numbers and the value of the work these individuals perform, the hourly wage earner is often misunderstood. Stereotypes include that they are unintelligent, lazy or incapable of doing higher-level work.
The truth is, hourly wage earners are intelligent. They are resourceful and ingenious problem solvers…they have to be to figure out how to support themselves and their families week to week.
Hourly Wage Earners Hold Essential Jobs
Today, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, hourly wage earners hold another distinctive position: many of them perform essential jobs.
They also make up many of the millions of workers who have filed for unemployment benefits after being let go from jobs as servers and bartenders, cooks and retail clerks.
That’s where the staffing industry comes in.
Richard Walquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association, released this statement about the staffing industry’s response and role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During one of the worst crises ever to face our country, staffing agencies are playing a vital role in helping to ensure the flow of essential goods and services the American people need to weather the storm.”
Staffing companies provide a flexible workforce to companies looking to supplement their full-time workforce, flex the number of their employees up or down with demand, or relieve themselves of the financial burdens and risks of hiring FTEs.
In 2019, the staffing industry put 16 million people to work. It put more than 3 million people to work each day and has done so consistently for the last six years.
This is the staffing industry’s role in our economy. This is Active’s role for companies in the light industrial sector.
Hourly Workers & Active Staffing
Active’s temporary associates are hourly wage earners in low- or unskilled jobs. In 2019, the company put 11,000 people to work. Active has been meeting the needs of job seekers and clients since 1947.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, we are open. We are hiring. We are here for our associates. We are here for our clients whose businesses are facing high demand during the crisis,” said Benny Elzweig, Active’s chief operating officer.
Active takes seriously its promise to help its temporary associates improve their lives through meaningful work. They offer good jobs, flexibility, safe working conditions, and benefits.
Active also builds relationships with its employees. At a time when human contact is curtailed, these connections are vital.
A job with Active can be the gateway to a long-term career. In fact, 20% of Active’s associates are hired by the company’s clients into regular staff roles. At one Active client, the entire management team is made up of former Active associates.
“We create opportunities for hourly wage earners,” Elzweig said. “We help these important members of America’s workforce find meaningful work, grow in their careers, and provide for their families.
“We help people build skills that will last a lifetime.”