Devastating Job Quality Report Shows Lower Quality Jobs Took Biggest Hit

20.5 million U.S. jobs lost in April

Washington. Today’s jobs report shows a drastic collapse in overall U.S. employment. A record 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, propelling the nation’s unemployment rate up to 14.7 percent, a new post-World War II high.

This morning’s “JQ-Instant” indicator, published by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) and others, showed that 79.27 percent of the jobs lost in April were “low quality” (defined as having a mean weekly income below the national average). The leisure and hospitality sector accounted for 7.7 million of them. Education and health services shed 2.5 million jobs. But higher-tier job losses abounded as well. Manufacturing lost 1.3 million jobs in April. And professional and business services declined by 2.1 million jobs. 

CPA’s Chief Economist Jeff Ferry, said, “The 20.5 million job loss number is an historic, truly awful, and unprecedented figure for a single month. The fact that service sectors like leisure and hospitality took the largest hit illustrates that low-quality jobs not only pay relatively poorly and in most cases offer inferior benefits, but they’re also highly insecure positions. That’s why future economic recovery measures should focus on creating high-quality jobs and the industries that support them.”

The monthly U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) issued by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) and its partners fell slightly to 79.11, down by 0.16 percent from its revised level one month earlier. This paradoxical result arises because the JQI measures a mix of production and non-supervisory jobs in the U.S. economy. In the January to March period, the mix shifted slightly in favor of low-quality jobs, defined as jobs paying less than the mean weekly income for all production and non-supervisory workers.

Next month’s Job Quality Index is likely to rise dramatically. This does not mean that the economy is improving, but rather that as all sectors lose huge numbers of jobs in the COVID crisis, the mix of jobs will shift in favor of remaining, higher-quality jobs—since they are more secure than low-quality service employment. 

Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA, said, “The trends in our Job Quality Index clearly show that we must increase the quality of employment in the U.S. toward more job security and family financial stability. Washington needs to implement an aggressive ‘Made in America 2030’ program of infrastructure and industrial strategy as the basis for post-COVID economic recovery. The priority should be to rebuild our manufacturing sector, restore good-paying jobs, and regain self-sufficiency in vital sectors like medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.” 

Read more about a ‘Made in America 2030’ plan to rebuild economic and national security.

Read more about the U.S. Jobs Quality Index and the JQ Instant.

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