“We must now rebuild America’s middle class by turning service jobs work into higher-paid, family-supporting work.”


Which topic does one overhear being discussed with greater fervor, the weather or the quality of “service” recently experienced at a restaurant or retail business?

Some Southern Indiana restaurants struggle to find workers in saturated market, by Danielle Grady (Hanson Goes to Yahweh)

Other employers combat issue with high wages, opportunities

SOUTHERN INDIANA — May was the last time Cheryl Koetter had to fire someone.

The employee was abusing drugs and a liability around Cricket’s Cafe’s meat slicer. It wasn’t the first incident of its kind at the Sellersburg restaurant, but not because of the drugs. Koetter’s employees are often quitting unexpectedly or being fired. She’s also struggling to find workers to hire.

“I’m okay right now, but I’ve been short-staffed for years,” she said grimly.

Koetter primarily blames the issue on the local workforce being unwilling to, well, work. But as the unemployment rate in Clark and Floyd counties decreases and more and more restaurants open, many, but not all, service industry employers are dealing with a smaller pool of hires.

I posted a link to the preceding on the Facebook page of the New Albany Restaurant and Bar Association, and these two comments stood out.

“They don’t want to work?”. Maybe they’re tired of their morale being mitigated by low pay and a customer always right attitude that ensures employee dissatisfaction.

The answer to her problem is to pay more. Talent goes where the money is.

Did you know that “service workers” overall make up 45% of the nation’s workforce?

Here’s a view of what must happen next. Spoiler alert: it has to do with money.

The Service Class Deserves Better, by Richard Florida (CityLab)

Our nation’s future depends on our ability to provide the largest segment of our labor force with stable, family-supporting work.

More than 65 million Americans toil in precarious, low-wage service class jobs, preparing and serving us our food, assisting us in stores, supporting our office and professional work, and taking care of our kids and aging parents. The service class is the largest class of Americans by far, making up about 45% of the entire workforce. In terms of the jobs they do and the economic functions they serve, in many ways, its members represent the 21st century analog of the old blue-collar working class. And just like we upgraded those once dirty, dangerous, and low-paid manufacturing jobs during the postwar years, we must now rebuild America’s middle class by turning service jobs work into higher-paid, family-supporting work.

A new report released today by me and my Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues, Karen King and Charlotta Mellander, entitled Building 65 Million Good Jobs, outlines the size and scope of America’s service class, and describes how we can begin to upgrade their jobs.