ECEC Release Briefing: Business Costs September 2022

Key takeaways

  • Business costs rose most quickly between June and September for ancillary roles in the service sector
  • Increases in costs were down to around 1% for many hospitality roles after spikes in the spring
  • Hourly labor costs in the industrial sector held steady

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.

Costs for custodial workers, runners, and event setup/takedown workers rose by an average of 5% to 6% across our markets between June 2022 and September 2022. These critical but often unheralded positions were tougher to fill as consumer spending surged in the leisure, hospitality, and travel industries. In the meantime, costs for dishwashers, prep cooks, and line cooks rose slightly more than 1% while costs for general laborers, bussers, and event servers were largely unchanged. Costs rose sharply in the Bay Area and Sacramento, by an average of roughly 10% across all roles, with smaller increases other West Coast metro areas. In the East, Houston and Miami saw average increases of between 4% and 5%.

Here are the biggest increases in costs from March 2022 to June 2022 by role and region:


RoleRegionIncreaseEvent ServerSacramento33%CustodialBay Area30%RunnerLas Vegas28%Event Setup and TakedownHouston23%Concession / Stand WorkerToronto21%DishwasherSacramento21%Line CookPhiladelphia20%Event Setup and TakedownBay Area16%DishwasherPhoenix12%Prep CookChicago12%

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

21 Sep 2022 business costs briefing - regions

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

21 Sep 2022 business costs briefing - 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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