Number of waste workers grew faster than broader US jobs category over 2022

The number of people employed in the U.S. waste management and remediation services sector was 480,500 at the end of 2022, a roughly 3.85% year-over-year increase, according to the December jobs reported released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The category outpaced the broader economy: total nonfarm employment grew about 3.02% over that same period.

Those seasonally adjusted December figures showed a slight decline from the 481,200 waste workers reported in November, but were up from 460,900 at the start of the year. It came as the broader economy added 223,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5% — matching a half-century low and below expectations for 3.7%, according to analysis by Comerica Bank.

Across sectors, over the course of 2022, average hourly earnings increased by 4.6%. In December, they rose by 9 cents for private nonfarm payrolls. Waste and recycling companies throughout the year discussed the impact of inflation on wages, as well as other labor market trends. Hiring and retention best practices remain top of mind.

The January jobs report is scheduled for Feb. 3.