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Blue-Collar Jobs Boom as Covid-19 Boosts Housing, E-Commerce Demand

Blue-collar work roars back.
(Lonely Walker)
(Lonely Walker)
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“The U.S.’s blue-collar workforce has begun to benefit from a strengthening job market,” WSJ writes.

On a national level, we’re seeing employment in the following areas exceed pre-pandemic levels:

  • Residential Construction
  • Package Delivery
  • Warehousing

Why It Matters: A building boom for housing and the robust expansion of e-commerce has jumpstarted hiring in blue-collar professions, which had previously suffered from recessions.

  • One factor has been the drop in short-term interest rates from the Federal Reserve, which has incentivized the construction and housing surge.
  • In residential construction alone, employment in the sector has risen 1% while it has fallen 6.5% across all industries.
  • Rapid growth in online ordering throughout the pandemic has revolutionized how goods are distributed, requiring more drives and intermediaries to supply home delivery at a record pace.

The Details: “Manufacturers have steadily added back jobs after slashing payrolls last spring, though employment remains down about 5% from February 2020, according to Labor Department data. Job openings in many blue-collar occupations broke above pre-virus levels last summer and remain significantly elevated, figures from the online job site Indeed show.”

  • In fact, many blue-collar companies are struggling to find workers to maintain the demand levels. A combination of Covid-19 health concerns and increased child-care responsibilities stemming from restrictions have shrunk the talent pool.

Looking Ahead: It’s possible these blue-collar occupations continue to grow, albeit, at a slower pace, once Covid-19 is sufficiently contained. The key factor here is whether online orders and a “buoyant housing market” will remain elevated even after the vaccine rollout takes hold and consumers shift back to spending on services.

  • Service-industry jobs, such as retail and restaurants, are expected to experience a significant comeback after the pandemic fades as well, leading to further economic growth.

Justin Oh:

We’re undergoing a boom in package delivery and housing (which we talked about in Morning Cents 2/16). I believe housing will continue to be strong post-pandemic, but it will be interesting what happens to delivery numbers once vaccines become fully-distributed.

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