November 12, 2021 | Lee Easton Determining the state of the blue-collar job market is all about supply and demand. Currently, demand for blue-collar workers is at an all-time high while the supply of workers is at a record low. The current blue-collar job market is the hottest in decades, making it easier than ever to become blue-collar. According to recent reports, the reason for a spike in demand for blue-collar workers is a growing pool of retiring Baby Boomers and lower-income workers leaving the workforce on disability claims (often related to drug addition). These two factors alone have led to a steep decline in blue-collar job applicants. Also, young people continue to seek four-year college degrees in the hope of landing highly skilled jobs or starting careers in professional or public sectors, like schools and government. But as the United States continues to recover jobs lost during the pandemic and the push to bring new blue-collar applicants into the workforce continues, it is safe to say that things keep getting better for anyone who wants to become a blue-collar worker. That’s because, even as the job market bounces back from its pandemic lows, the US continues to face record blue-collar worker shortages. In response, blue-collar workers are experiencing exponential growth in wages, while employers, along with state and federal governments, are doing all they can to entice new workers into the blue-collar market. Apprenticeship programs are expanding The current state of the blue-collar job market has caused many states to begin expanding their apprenticeship programs. Established in 1937 through the Fitzgerald Act, the US Department of Labor’s national Registered Apprenticeship Program set standards for adequate training and offers real opportunities for those breaking into blue-collar jobs. Apprentices usually draw a paycheck while gaining industry-recognized credentials recognized in every state, expanding opportunities for blue-collar workers. The term “blue-collar worker” typically refers to employees engaging in hard manual labor, usually in the agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, or maintenance sectors. Blue-collar refers to the appearance of the worker’s attire. The attire would include blue jeans, overalls, or boilersuits in dark colors, like blue, to help hide the dirt resulting from the manual labor they perform. However, these valuable apprenticeship programs are available for more than 1,200 job titles across many industries, including construction, healthcare, and IT. The Federal Government is eliminating barriers In July, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order meant to stop the unfair use of non-compete agreements. Employers often use non-compete clauses in contracts to limit where the employee can work after leaving a job. As a result of this order, blue-collar workers have more opportunities to switch employers or start a competing business without having to worry about any fallout from a breach of contract with their current employer. Before Biden’s executive order, blue-collar workers in low-paying positions were often had such clauses in their contracts, stifling their ability to find better jobs elsewhere or start a business of their own. That was a barrier to upward mobility for those who worked in blue-collar jobs. Employers are offering great incentives With blue-collar workers in such high demand and the landscape of the blue-collar job market changing so rapidly, it is no surprise that employers have not only had to come up with creative ways to lure new employees but with plans to keep their existing ones. The use of incentives like sign-on bonuses, higher wages, performance rewards, and even gift card bonuses have become the norm for employers trying to survive in today’s blue-collar job market. As a result of such incentives, recent data shows that blue-collar wages are on the rise. Data also shows that pay wages are rising faster for earners with only a high school diploma than those with a four-year college degree. The Federal Government wants to create more blue-collar job opportunities President Biden’s massive $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act plan recently passed through the Senate, and a $3.5 Trillion Democratic proposal is still on the table. With these bills looming, there is strong evidence that the US government will be helping to create millions of new jobs in the not-so-distant future. Not only will this undo some of the job market stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but it will also be a win for blue-collar workers who will fill many of those new job roles. Things keep getting better for the blue-collar worker Today’s job market favors the blue-collar worker, which is a shift from decades past, and all of the data shows that this trend will likely continue as we continue to navigate the new normal of our pandemic stricken world. The current situation has created and will likely continue to create one of the best and most financially rewarding environments that blue-collar workers have seen in a generation, and that’s good news for everyone. WORK WITH STAND-BY PERSONNEL If your goal is to move up in your career, find a new job, or get started down a new path altogether, Stand-By Personnel is here to help. Our experienced Tulsa staffing agency can help you find full-time or part-time employment. Contact Stand-By Personnel today or text ‘weldingjobs’ or ‘skilledjobs’ to 888-111 to see how we can help you get started in a new career.