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  • Keely Covello

Top Job Trends in 2022: The Year of the Blue Collar American

Wages in blue collar industries are growing faster than those in white collar jobs. This is a huge change, reversing a 30-year trend benefiting office workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


In the wake of the pandemic, as the American economy begins to reopen, many companies are in desperate need of employees. Construction jobs are undergoing a massive boom. Blue collar incomes across the nation are rising.


In its effort to reopen after two years of pandemic and lockdown, the United States economy will depend on blue collar workers.



Blue Collar Wages are Rising.


Between March and July of 2021, hourly earnings increased almost 15% in transportation and warehousing sectors and 17% in leisure and hospitality.


Meanwhile, wage growth in professional and management jobs stayed below 3%.


This trend predates the pandemic.


An article in CNBC in 2021 said, “Wage gains among blue-collar and manual labor workers were strong in the years before Covid-19, reversing what had been a three-decade trend of greater compensation leverage for the professional class.”



Blue Collar vs. White Collar: What’s the Difference?


The term “blue collar” comes from the blue jeans, overalls, work shirts, and boilersuits once worn by laborers in the United States. American writer Upton Sinclair was one of the first to use “white collar” to describe administrative work.


While white collar workers often wear a suit and tie to jobs that involve sitting behind a desk and not much physical labor, blue collar workers serve in industries that involve manual labor. Typically, blue collar businesses are local and service based.


There are many, many examples of blue collar jobs, some of which include:

  • Agriculture

  • Mining

  • Commercial fishing

  • Textiles

  • Oil field work

  • Waste management

  • Manufacturing

  • Concrete

  • Asphalt paving

  • Mechanics

  • Electricians

  • Plumbers

  • Appliance repair

  • Home building/construction

  • Delivery

  • Residential or commercial cleaning

  • Pest control

  • Landscaping/gardening

  • Painting

  • Small engine repair

Many of these workers obtained their job skills from a trade school or apprenticeship rather than college. Some are paid hourly or by the job rather than on salary.


Less People Are Willing to Do Physically Demanding Jobs.


One of the chief reasons wages for blue collar workers are rising so dramatically is less Americans are interested in doing this type of hands-on work.


A June 2021 survey from the National Federation of Independent Business found:

  1. 66% of construction companies can’t find enough skilled or qualified employees

  2. 44% of companies are actively trying to hire skilled workers

In an era where nearly 7 in 10 high school graduates attend college the fall after they graduate, many American adults have felt overqualified for blue collar work. Many people with bachelor’s degrees are unwilling to take blue collar and manual jobs, and even the number of non-college educated workers willing to take these jobs is shrinking. Others believe that robotics and overseas workers have replaced these opportunities.


This creates a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and workers uninspired by the proposition of a 9-5 desk job. A 2018 study with Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that up to 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled between 2018 and 2028—a negative economic impact of $2.5 trillion for the U.S. As wages in this sector rise and more students choose to opt out of the debt-burdened college experience, the tide could start to shift. More young Americans should consider the benefits of jobs outside the office.



Benefits of Blue Collar Work


Blue collar jobs offer a great opportunity for Americans who want to work with their hands and serve their communities.

  • Learn valuable skills. In an era of email jobs and business jargon, having real work skills that provide value generates a sense of pride and accomplishment.

  • Enjoy better job security. These skilled services are always in demand. Never forget the jobs they called “essential” during the pandemic of 2020.

  • Avoid student debt. Students today are shackled by enormous student loans. Even if your job requires trade school, these tuitions are much more affordable.

  • Stay active. Sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day is incredibly unhealthy—not to mention boring. Staying active at your day job is an attractive factor of skilled work for many people.

  • Serve your community. Bored with Zoom meetings, emails, and never-ending checklists? Connect with and be part of your local community with a service that helps people, solves real problems, and involves a direct response and resolution. Make your community better and people happier. If that sounds like a better day at work for you, it may be time to consider your path to becoming the next blue collar success story.

Does this blog post describe you? Are you currently working in a service based industry or considering starting your own business? We believe in your future success and the value you bring to America. Digital marketing is an essential part of your businesses success. Go West Marketing would love to work with you to develop a strategy that facilities your success. Reach out to us today.