By Annette Gailliot

Working in The Service Sector in Michigan

Service sector jobs in the United States are characterized by low pay, few fringe benefits, and limited employee control over scheduled workdays and times. Many service sector employers across the country rely on just-in-time and on-call scheduling practices designed to minimize labor costs by closely aligning staffing with consumer demand. These practices can introduce significant instability into the lives of workers and their families.

The Company Wage Tracker: Estimates of Wages at 66 Large Service Sector Employers

Low wages are widespread in the service-sector – a sector that makes up nearly 20% of the nation’s workforce. While the COVID-19 crisis has focused public and policy attention on the service-sector, workers in retail, food service, big box stores, pharmacy, hardware, delivery, grocery and other subsectors continue to labor under precarious working conditions. Workers struggle with a lack of paid sick leave, unstable and unpredictable work schedules, and low wages.

Tax Filing in the Service Sector

Service-sector workers at the large firms in our sample received a $1,000 refund, on average, which equates to 5% of annual income. The average parent worker received a refund worth 12% of annual income.

Employee Vaccination Rates in the Retail Sector: Successes and Resistance

Using the most recent shift data, this brief explores how vaccination among service sector workers has changed since the Spring. Vaccination rates have increased to 68% as of Nov 2021. These rates were even higher for employees that were incentivized to get vaccinated by their employer. However, the survey data show that hesitancy and resistance emerge now as the primary barriers to vaccination among the unvaccinated.

Half of Service Sector Workers Are Not Yet Vaccinated for COVID-19: What Gets in the Way?

As eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine expands to all Americans and the country moves towards a full re-opening, durably returning to normal life depends on vaccine uptake. The U.S. developed and produced vaccines at record speed and, initially, the rate of daily administered doses rose sharply from January to April 2021. Since May 2021, however, the pace of rollout has declined and many remain unvaccinated.

Unemployed Without a Net

The effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. labor market has been profound. In the early weeks of the outbreak, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4% in February to almost 15% in April of 2020. Although the economy has partially recovered since April, as of August 2020, the unemployment rate stood at over 8%, more than twice as high as it had been just 6 months prior. The economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak has been particularly severe for service sector workers. As state-wide orders to close businesses went into effect, many retail, food service, and hospitality workers experienced...