Economist Gad Levanon & Phantom Co-founder Elliot Katz discussed the state of the blue-collar labor market.

On a recent episode of Phantom Auto’s “Click. Connect. Drive.” podcast, Chief Economist Gad Levanon of the Burning Glass Institute joined Phantom Co-founder & Chief Business Officer Elliot Katz for a broad conversation about the state of the blue-collar labor market in the US today.

Among the topics discussed: 

  • Changing demographics in the supply chain workforce
  • The growing impact of the gig economy on traditional blue-collar employment
  • Modern workforce options in demand among today’s job seekers
  • Ways human-centric technology can help close the labor gap in logistics

One key takeaway: The blue-collar labor market remains tighter now than during any other period in the past half century.

Surging Demand for Warehouse Workers

“The demand for blue-collar workers is continuing to grow,” Levanon said. “But the number of people interested in those jobs is declining.”

This despite surging demand for logistics workers in the age of e-commerce.

“During the pandemic, even the least tech savvy people in the world had to learn how to shop online,” Levanon said. “So that significantly increased … the demand for warehouse workers.”

But fewer people are seeking traditional warehouse worker roles, a challenge felt throughout the supply chain.

“The number one problem facing companies in the logistics sector today is hiring and then retaining talent,” said Katz. “It's been a problem for a long time, but the problem has become even more acute in the last few years.”

Factors contributing to the labor shortage in logistics include the growth of gig economy employment opportunities like delivery driving; a rebound of traditional manufacturing jobs; and a wave of baby boomers retiring from the blue-collar workforce—with fewer people willing to fill their jobs. 

Closing Labor Gaps with Remote Operation

Innovations like Phantom Auto’s remote operation technology can help close this labor gap in logistics.

“The people who want and need to do this work may not be located within commuting distance of warehouses or distribution centers,” Katz said. “Our technology connects essential workers that want and need to work with essential jobs that must be filled to keep our supply chain intact.” 

“With our technology we’re removing the geographic restriction to hiring. It’s no longer the case that companies can only hire drivers within commuting distance from their facilities; they can hire from anywhere. And that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Katz said. 

Listen to the full conversation between Gad & Elliot here. 


About Phantom Auto

Phantom Auto specializes in remote operation of logistics vehicles. Phantom’s human-centric interoperable solutions enable people to remotely supervise, assist, and drive forklifts from up to thousands of miles away. By decoupling labor from location, the company increases labor access and retention, safety, productivity, and resilience across the supply chain.

With Phantom, supply chain operators can tap into drivers from anywhere — connecting people who want to work with jobs that need to be filled. The company’s proprietary software delivers secure, low-latency communication over volatile wireless networks for reliable sensor streaming and safe vehicle control.

To learn more about Phantom and discuss ways remote operation can help you and your business, schedule a call with one of our experts today.