Monthly Labor Market Report: Reheating

Key points

  • The labor market is showing several signs of tightening again
  • Instawork Pros are having an easier time finding full-time and part-time jobs
  • Pay increases occurred in April and are expected in May across many industries
  • Survey results suggest Instawork Pros lack access to important financial services

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.

Starting this month, we are presenting reorganized, rebalanced, and re-indexed statistics with July 2022 as their base, for greater ease of use.

The labor market as a whole looked hotter in February, with increases in pay predominating and other indicators also showing signs of strength. In March we expect these factors to moderate slightly:

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.

Pros had an easier time finding full-time and part-time jobs in April, suggesting that the labor market may be heating up again. Finding app-based or temporary work outside the Instawork platform continued to be difficult:

For the fourth straight month, finding 41-50 hours of work per week got easier. Finding regular full-time hours was slightly harder. There was the smallest gap yet between the share of Pros working 30 hours or fewer and the share who wanted 30 hours or fewer. This has been driven by changes in the 21-30 hour a week segment. A bigger share of Pros used to want 21-30 hours than the share who actually worked those hours, but now the situation is reversed:

Overall, a larger share of Pros want to work 0-30 hours in April than in any of the previous four months, though the reference week (April 22) was in between the major religious holidays. It may have coincided with some school vacations.

In April we also asked Pros about the financial services they used. Though the vast majority of Pros had checking accounts, much fewer had savings accounts or credit cards. Fewer than 10% reported having auto loans and home mortgages:

Only 4% of Pros reported having a brokerage account. These data suggest that flexible workers are not unbanked but have worse access to other financial services than the majority of workers.

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. Indianapolis, IN

 1. Houston, TX

 2. Baltimore, MD

 2. Cincinnati, OH

 3. Kansas City, MO

 3. Richmond, VA

 4. Orlando, FL

 4. St. Louis, MO

 Roles with the highest growth of flexible work  

 Roles with lowest growth of flexible work  

 1. Bartender

 1. Housekeeper

 2. Warehouse (intermediate)

 2. Counter Staff / Cashier

 3. Runner

 3. Event Setup and Takedown

 4. Busser

 4. Food Service Worker

Demand increased most strongly for several restaurant and catering roles including bartenders, bussers, and runners. The advent of warmer weather is once again bringing people outside for meals and events. Geographical changes in demand were more mixed, with the furthest extremes coming mainly in the Midwest..

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 gender balance on the Instawork platfrorm was steady in April, and the share of Pros identifying as Black/African-American rose for the second month in a row:

The share of Pros identifying as mixed-race fell to its lowest level in the past year.

Food service and hospitality

A strong majority of businesses in hospitality raised pay in April, and that trend is expected to continue in May:


In-demand roles such as bartender and busser are expected to see higher hourly pay in May, as are servers:


Hourly pay for dishwashers is expected to rise in May for the second straight month while cooks' pay holds steady:

Custodial and cleaning

In one of the most volatile industry groups we track, the turnaround in pay signals for building and grounds cleaning is expected to continue its four-month streak in May, with most businesses raising hourly pay. This does not appear to be a seasonal trend, since the last similar streak occurred in the second half of 2022. After a few months of declines, custodial pay is set to rise for the third month in a row:

Manufacturing and production

Most businesses in production raised pay in April, and the majority are expected to do so in May as well. Pay for general labor may make one of its biggest jumps in recent times:

Retail and sales

Pay in retail and sales looks set to stabilize and even decline, bucking the trend in much of the rest of the labor market:

Logistics and warehouse

April was another strong month for pay increases in logistics, and raises may also dominate in May, when hourly pay for warehouse roles is set to climb:

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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 2023, 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  



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 41% 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 2022 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 2022 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:


 General Labor



 Concession or stand workers

 Line cook

 Counter staff or cashier

 Prep cook




 Warehouse associate - entry level

 Event server

 Warehouse associate - intermediate