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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. This research brief is part of a series designed to advance our understanding of working conditions in the service sector—in particular, schedule instability and unpredictability—in cities and states across the country. Since 2016, The Shift Project has collected survey data from workers employed at large chain retailers and food-service establishments. We ask respondents about their work schedules, household economic security, health, and wellbeing, targeting employees at large firms that are the focus of recent state and local labor regulation efforts. Our data permit an unprecedented view of labor conditions in the service sector and provide unparalleled insight into the work and family lives of low-wage workers. Around 450,000 people, 15% of the labor force, were employed in the retail and food-service sectors in the state of Colorado as of 2019. This brief describes the experiences reported by 2,144 of these workers surveyed by The Shift Project, in order to capture working conditions in Colorado’s service sector.


Schneider, Daniel, Kristen Harknett, Evelyn Bellew, and Elaine Zundl. "Working in the Service Sector in Colorado." Shift Project Research Brief, February 2022.