Monthly Labor Market Report: Production leads the way while workers seek more hours

Key points

  • Businesses in production have been raising pay in greater numbers as demand for labor increases
  • Warehouse roles, which include shifts are manufacturing sites, were also among the fastest-growing on the Instawork platform in November
  • More workers with full-time jobs are also working shifts on the Instawork platform

Every day, the Instawork platform handles thousands of transactions involving businesses and hourly professionals, generating a huge amount of data on hourly pay as well as other aspects of the labor market. This report summarizes some of the major trends in demographics, roles, and worker constraints in regions across the United States.

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The data are also compiled into the Instawork Pay Signal Index (PSI) and indexed trends in hourly pay. Because businesses can book shifts in advance on the Instawork platform, the metrics include forward-looking data for the current month as well. Please refer to the appendix for explanations of the methods behind each metric.

The labor market looked slightly stronger in October than in September, buoyed by a revival in the supply chain. Business hiring for light industrial roles look likely to push the balance of pay upward in November:

In-app survey data

Our in-app surveys track Pros' labor market situations on a monthly basis. For details on methods and questionnaires, please see the Methodological Appendix below.

Again this month we are focusing on the differences between Pros' labor market preferences and their labor market outcomes. Here are the differences between the shares of Pros who had a specific type of job and the share who wanted it:

The gap between the share of Pros with full-time jobs and the share of Pros wanting full-time jobs dropped sharply in November, but this didn't necessarily signal an improvement in the labor market. It may have been the case that more Pros found full-time jobs, but it could also have been the case that there were a lot of new Pros who already held full-time jobs.

The latter explanation seems more likely. If we look at the tenure on the Instawork platform of the Pros who said they had full-time jobs, the average tenure in November was 479 days, whereas the average tenure in October was 521 days. This could in part be a seasonal effect, with many workers looking to earn extra money for and during the holidays.

In parallel with these results, the share of Pros wanting 51 hours of work or more minus the share who could get those hours fell steeply. But the unfulfilled desire for working hours grew in every other group:

These data suggest additional pressure on household budgets, with workers looking for more hours to make ends meet.

In November we also asked Pros whether they would accept the offer of a full-time job at a business where they had worked a shift via Instawork. More than half said they would, providing the pay met their expectations. Only 12% said they would definitely not accept the position:

About a quarter of Pros were happy to accept the hourly rate they had received for the shift, and another quarter wanted a higher rate; the actual option in the survey was "Only accept if the pay was a little higher." Pros appear to have a strong appetite for full-time positions based on positive experiences during their Instawork shifts.

Recent growth in flexible work

Because flexible work is one of several options that workers might have in the labor market, increases in flexible work may mean decreases in other areas. The following statistics measure differences in shift work booked on the Instawork platform (measured in hours), month over month:

 Regions with the highest growth of flexible work  

 Regions with lowest growth of flexible work  

 1. Louisville, KY

 1. Kansas City, MO

 2. Washington, DC

 2. Bay Area, CA

 3. Columbus, OH

 3. Cleveland, OH

 4. Phoenix, AZ

 4. Pittsburgh, PA

 Roles with the highest growth of flexible work  

 Roles with lowest growth of flexible work  

 1. Brand ambassador

 1. Counter staff/cashier

 2. Warehouse - intermediate

 2. Concession/stand worker

 3. Warehouse - entry level

 3. Event server

 4. Barista

 4. Event setup and takedown

Demand for warehouse workers was up notably in November, as the supply chain got into gear for the holiday shopping season. Shifts for in-person hospitality at large events, including counter staff and concession roles, continued to show weaker growth as summer sports and concert tours wound down.

Technical note: To control for the growth of the Instawork platform, only business locations that have participated for at least two months before the start of the comparison period are included. Changes in hours are included only for roles for which businesses booked shifts during both months.

Demographics of flexible workers

The share of workers who identified as Black/African-American was close to its 12-month high in November, and the share of men working shifts also rose slightly:

Pay Signal Index

Hourly pay at businesses posting shifts for production looks set to increase again, while the balance of businesses have pay steady or falling in most other sectors. Pay at businesses involved in maintenance continues to bounce around, with another drop set to following last month's widespread increases, which accompanied stronger demand for custodial shifts:

Indexed trends in hourly pay

Hourly pay for several hospitality roles rose in November, though pay for cooks was largely flat. Despite the growth in warehouse shifts, pay hardly moved on average, likely to do increases in labor supply as referenced above. No major changes in pay are anticipated in December. Though hospitality roles will be in demand for the holidays, hourly pay does not necessarily rise; workers may be able to supplement their pay with higher tips.

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Methodological appendix

Instawork in-app surveys

Five surveys per month are delivered via the Instawork Pro app. Random samples of Pros who have worked at least one shift in the past 12 months may be shown a one-question survey when they open the details for a shift. No Pro receives more than one survey per month. The surveys continue until they collect 1,000 responses.

The repeating questions on Pros' labor market situations are as follows:

1. Please mark all the kinds of work you will do this week:

  • regular full-time job
  • regular part-time job
  • shifts booked on Instawork
  • other app-based or temporary work
  • no work

2. Please mark all the kinds of work you would like to do each week:

  • regular full-time job
  • regular part-time job
  • shifts booked on Instawork
  • other app-based or temporary work
  • no work

3. In total, how many hours will you work this week at all your jobs?

  • 0-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-30
  • 31-40
  • 41-50
  • 51 or more

4. In total, how many hours would you like to work each week at all your jobs?

  • 0-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-30
  • 31-40
  • 41-50
  • 51 or more

Instawork PSI (Pay Signal Index)

The PSI gauges the overall direction of changes in hourly pay from month to month, much the way a purchasing managers’ index measures supply chain activity.

To begin, for each month, we measure the average hourly pay offered by each business on our platform for each role in each region. If the business offered shifts for the same role in the same region during the previous month, we record whether the average rose or fell. A rise is recorded as +1, a fall as -1, and no change as 0.

Next we weight this signal by the average number of shifts the business offered for that role across the two months. For example, if the business offered 10 shifts for line cooks in the Houston area during February and 18 shifts for the same role in the same region during March, then the weight would be 14.

We group these weighted signals by the Census Bureau’s occupational categories and take the weighted average for each category. Then we multiply the weighted average by 50 and add it to 50. This yields a PSI between 0 and 100. At 0, the PSI implies that all businesses in the sample offered lower pay. At a PSI of 100, all businesses offered higher pay. At a PSI of 50, businesses that raised or lowered pay did so with equal weight (or loosely, equal numbers of shifts).

At present we cover six major occupational categories. These are the numbers of workers they represented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ counts of hourly workers in 2022, and their shares of the total reported number of hourly workers:

 Occupational category

 Workers (1,000s)

 Share of hourly workers




 Food preparation and serving  









 Building and grounds cleaning  



 Personal care and service



To create a national PSI, we calculate a weighted average by weighting the PSI for each occupational category by its share of hourly workers above. The resulting national PSI represents occupational categories that cover roughly 44% of hourly workers in the American labor force.

Indexed trends in hourly pay

Sample selection for our pay trends is similar to the method for the PSI. Businesses that book shifts for the same role in the same region during consecutive months are the units of observation. For each pair of months, we calculate the change in the average hourly pay offered for the given role in the given region. Examples of roles are line cooks, forklift drivers, and custodial staff.

Next, as for the PSI, we weight the changes in pay by the average number of shifts across the two months. Then we calculate a weighted average of the changes at a national level for each role. To create an indexed trend, we have chosen July 2021 as the starting point, where the indexed hourly pay for each role is set to 100. We then use the monthly changes to map the trend from August 2021 onward.

At present we publish the indexed trends in hourly pay for 14 of the roles staffed on our platform:

 Indexed trends in hourly pay available for the following roles:


 Event setup and takedown


 General labor

 Concession or stand workers

 Line cook

 Counter staff or cashier

 Prep cook




 Warehouse associate - entry level

 Event server

 Warehouse associate - intermediate