A blue-collar worker is someone that performs manual tasks. This can be skilled or unskilled labor. Blue-collar workers are involved in a wide range of sectors from construction and warehousing to fishing and trucking.
Typically involved in the construction of a physical structure or maintenance works, the blue-collar worker is someone who is directly engaged with the tasks they need to complete. The majority of blue-collar jobs are accessible to most people, these roles do not require many qualifications. Of course, specific roles can only be obtained with suitable training or certifications.
The term blue-collar is believed to have first been used in reference to workers of the trade in an Iowa newspaper in 1924. The blue coming from the generalization that all of these workers wore blue denim overalls or shirts as part of their uniform.
As so many blue-collar jobs require manual labor and relatively unskilled workers, there is a significant threat from automation for the future of work. With technology growing and becoming ever more reliable for completing tasks in a precise and efficient manner, there is a concern that many blue-collar workers will be displaced. Mass unemployment of unskilled workers poses all sorts of potential problems on a societal level. Nevertheless, this is all to be discovered in the years to come.
According to the Washington Post, 13.9% of American workers are employed in blue-collar professions. This contrasts significantly to 15% in government and 71.1% in the service sector.