Transportation job wages increase during COVID-19 pandemic

Dive Brief:

  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, wage growth for sales jobs experienced a sharp decline, which is a leading indicator for a major economic downturn on the horizon, according to the compensation software and data company PayScale. The Q1 2020 PayScale Index released April 2 tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation.
  • Wages for sales jobs experienced 1.8% annual growth, which landed at the bottom of the Q1 Index. Meanwhile, as the demand for delivery of food and supplies increased, transportation and warehouse jobs topped the list, according to the index. Over the past year, wages for these jobs grew 3.2%. Due to telework and most Americans having additional time to engage in leisure activities at home, wages in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry experienced a 2.9% annual wage growth. Most of the gains occurred in the last month of the quarter, according to PayScale.
  • The company also compared the severity and duration of the current economic downturn caused by COVID-19 to the 2008 recession. “The results show that wages for most employees will not fully recover for another four or five years,” according to the report. The research analyzed the wages for employees with various levels of experience and education across a number of jobs, industries and metro regions.

Dive Insight:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are practicing social distancing at the instruction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state officials. But it’s turning into profits for some industries. 

GameStop is a company that has seen financial gains. CFO Jim Bell said in March that global comparable sales over the first few weeks of March had risen 2% due to increased demand, as reported by HR Dive’s sister publication Retail Dive. The growth occurred despite the closure of most GameStop stores across Europe during that time. “When large numbers of people move from working in their offices to their homes, consumer behavior changes significantly,” Sudarshan Sampath, director of Research at PayScale said in a statement. 

The PayScale index shows “notable wage growth among employees who deliver packages and offer leisure activities,” Sampath said. To keep up with the online shopping surge, Amazon announced March 16 that it will open 100,000 new full and part-time positions in fulfillment centers across the country. Wages will also increase as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response. “We’re increasing pay for hourly employees by $2 an hour in the U.S.,” the company said in an April 6 blog post. Pay will comparatively increase for workers abroad in Canada and Europe. 

“We’re also paying double the regular hourly base pay for every overtime hour worked; and offering extra time off with full pay for those diagnosed with COVID-19,” Amazon said. More than 150 process updates have been made to help protect employees, including enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures, according to the company.

In contrast, healthcare has not made gains in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, healthcare employment dropped by 43,000, which reverses 10 years job growth in the sector.



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