Job Quality Index Falls with Slow Job Growth and Sluggish Wages

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today announced that the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) fell slightly to 81.4 in November, down 0.85% from the previous month. The decline in the JQI was driven by the growth in low-wage jobs in the medical equipment manufacturing and motor vehicle dealership sector, along with an increase in the number of low-wage restaurant jobs. While the total of production and nonsupervisory jobs grew, the growth in low-wage jobs outpaced high-wage jobs, leading to the slight fall in the index.

“The growth in total jobs is positive and shows that the economy is continuing to recover from COVID, but the declining JQI illustrates that not enough is being done to create the high-wage jobs the U.S. economy desperately needs,” said CPA chief economist Jeff Ferry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the U.S. added 210,000 workers to payrolls in November. The job growth total is disappointing when compared to recent monthly increases around 500,000 and in light of the normal pickup in business expected before the holiday. Disappointing job growth reflects a slow increase in job growth as COVID remains pervasive and safety restrictions continue to suppress economic activity in sectors like restaurants and travel.

According to today’s BLS report, manufacturing jobs grew by 31,000. However, motor vehicle and parts employment fell by 10,100, reflecting the continuing shortages of key components as the global supply chain fails to deliver for the U.S. economy.

The Job Quality Index measures job quality for U.S. production and non-supervisory workers by comparing workers’ weekly wages to the mean weekly wage for all non-supervisory workers. Those jobs above the mean are classified as high-quality and those below the mean are low-quality.

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