ECEC Release Briefing: Business costs through September 2023

Key takeaways

  • There was a slight downward tendency in costs of compensation for flexible work between March 2023 and June 2023, with decreases outnumbering increases.
  • The most widespread and largest cost increases were concentrated in hospitality roles.
  • Looking by region, the biggest metropolises tended to see the broadest increases in costs.

Transactions on the Instawork platform track the wages paid to hourly workers and the total cost of their shifts to local businesses. This briefing focuses on costs to businesses for dozens of occupations in regions across the United States, in parallel with the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.

The majority of role-region combinations saw increases in the cost of compensation between July 2023 and September 2023. Hospitality had the most increases in costs, especially for back-of-house roles. Cooks have seen the most widespread increases. Meanwhile, there were very few increases and many decreases in costs for light industrial roles, perhaps continuing to reflect the overshooting in employment that occurred in 2022.

Costs increased substantially in many second-tier metropolitan areas, while the nation's biggest cities saw more moderate increases and even decreases. Boston, one of the highest-cost markets in the nation, had the fewest roles with increasing costs.

Here are the biggest increases in costs from July 2023 to September 2023 by role and region:




 Concession/Stand Worker



 General Labor



 Counter Staff/Cashier

 Las Vegas





 General Labor




 Los Angeles


 Line Cook



 Line Cook

 Bay Area


 Event Server



 Line Cook



Here are shares of roles where business costs increased in major metropolitan areas:

Here are the shares of regions where business costs rose for a selection of roles:

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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