The industrial revolution took place over quite a period of time, innovations took time to spread, and the post Napoleonic recession of the 1815’s slowed investment in expensive machinery and ‘manufacturies’ for a decade or so.
One example of a secure trade would be that of the Cropper. The Cropper was a person who took woven cloth, once it had been ‘fulled’ (a process of pounding cloth which made it shrink but also made it thicker) Once fulled the cloth would be put onto tenter frames and stretched (hence the term ‘tenterhooks’)
Following this process the Cropper would recieve the cloth, and with a pair of very large shears, would crop the nap of the fabric which at this stage of production, was quite long.
This seems a long way about telling you what was happening, but what it meant was that although many other trades were slowly being replaced in the period 1800, to 1850 (it actually took far longer than most people think) the Croppers role was incredibly difficult for the technology of the day to replicate.
You’ll note that the Luddites, mainly weavers, were operating during the 1820’s and true mechanised factory production was becoming more widespread, instead of it being simply a collective home industry in a large building.
By around 1840 though, Croppers were almost no longer required at all, machines had been devised to do thier work, and they were one of the last of these trades in textiles to be a purely manual trade.
These and many other trades were replaced, most by around 1820, watch and clockmakers suffered similarly, even boot and shoe makers suffered,and when did you last hear of a ‘whitesmith’ or a ‘gold beater’?
This loss of lifetime learnt trades had a devastating effect, not easy to switch from one trade to another - so many were forced into unskilled factory work, with absolutely awful conditions.
I have reliable figures about the supply of water and sewer provision in industrial cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and worst of all Bradford, that show that total life expectancy for unskilled workers was just 19 and for artisans it was just 27, and only 35 for the higher ups. Of course, this includes infant mortality but it does serve to show that life for anyone was hard, but especially so for the unskilled, children were working at age 10, the campaign for the 12 hour day had not yet begun, education act requiring compulsory tuition for children was still a couple of generations away.Remarkably from the OPs point of view, these figures I have date from 1840!
You also need to note that Dickens certainly saw true poverty first hand, it was all around him and he worked for a time in legal offices so he would have been familiar with the labyrinthine legal system, and desperation of those who had become subjected to the law.
Actually Bob Crattchett would have been in a better position than most, he could read, he could do accounts and his skills were not about to be replaced, far from it, his skills would have been in greater demand. Most of his problems came about from having too many children - not unusual in these days.
There were ‘gentlemens agreements’ across company owners not to pay more than the going rate in wages, in one case a Leeds woollen cloth maker William Hirst was one of the first to fully mechanise cloth production. To do this he incurred the wrath of those skilled workers in the trade - the Luddites - to such an extent that he had to have himself and his family protected by armed guards, and yet he broke the old cloth guilds system and de-skilled work- He was made bankrupt in the 1825 recession and put in a debtors prison - other mill owners clubbed together and bought him out of this position and provided with him with a pension in appreciation for his industrialisation, but mainly because he de-skilled work and brought the cost of labour down dramatically.
All this meant that there was no going from one employer to another to seek better wages, people were not particularly mobile and employers were not about to break ranks and pay the ‘going rate’ if they could hold wages down.
Add in large immigration, from the countryside, and also from Ireland and Scotland into England, there is suddenly more labour than work - good thing too for the company bosses as the natural growth of the local populations was not enough to keep pace due to high death rates, and expansion of industry.