Upshift COO Discusses Hourly Wage Inflation Post-COVID

Upshift COO Alex Pantich recently wrote about the shift towards contingent labor for Forbes previewed below: 

There has been a lot of talk about inflation since the passage of the recent stimulus measures injected trillions of dollars into the economy. While wide-scale price inflation has not manifested in the broader economy yet, one area where it has appeared is in the hourly wage of front-line workers across the U.S. Workers are demanding higher wages and are able to do so due to the sharp increase in demand as the economy recovers, and with a record number of Americans sitting on the sidelines.

Enhanced unemployment was a boon and saving grace for many hourly American workers and families, and with its abatement, many have demanded wages closer to what they received while unemployed earlier in the year. These demands might not be met if the labor market were not as tight as it currently is, but with many Americans choosing not to work due to a variety of concerns surrounding Covid-19, such as familial responsibilities as schools remain closed or health concerns, the labor market has continued to tighten even as demand increases.

This wage inflation has not been apparent yet for salaried roles but has a huge impact on the hourly workforce. At Upshift, we compared wages paid to our temporary employees in select warehouse roles for 1,032 shifts in Q3 2019 and 1,269 shifts in Q3 2020 and saw an almost 40% year-over-year increase in the average wage for warehouse associates, as e-commerce continues to boom. This large increase is not just apparent in the warehouse sector. It’s also apparent in the hospitality industry, as events start to take place once again. The average wage for a hotel housekeeper in Cincinnati, where Upshift is headquartered, has surged to $14/hour from $11.50/hour in 2019, and average pay for event servers has surpassed $16/hour up from $13.50/hour one year earlier.