Job Quality Index (JQI) Falls Slightly as Jobs Data Disappoints

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today announced that the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) fell slightly in May to 81.49, as more service sector workers earning less than the average weekly wage returned to work. The JQI is the ratio of high-quality jobs to low-quality jobs, based on whether their job pays more or less than the average weekly wage for U.S. private sector non-management employees.

A JQI of 81.49 indicates that 44.9% of the workforce held high-quality jobs and 55.1% held low-quality jobs. The average weekly wage for this group of 97 million employees as of May data was $871.79. The prevalence of low-quality jobs for the U.S. workforce is due to the growth of low hourly wage jobs and part-time jobs over the past three decades.

“The decline in the latest JQI shows that more low-quality jobs are getting filled, and while it’s good that people are coming back to work, the fact that more than 55% of the jobs are low-quality highlights the problem of too many low-wage, low-hour jobs in our country,” said CPA Chief Economist Jeff Ferry. “Our latest study on minority JQI, published two weeks ago, shows that Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are suffering even lower job quality than the average American. We need to address this problem urgently and a key part of the solution is reshoring industrial capacity and strengthening domestic supply chains to create high-quality jobs in sectors like durable goods manufacturing.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its May jobs report this morning, showing the U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs. More than half of the total, 292,000 jobs, were added in leisure and hospitality, which are low-paying sectors of the economy. Manufacturing jobs rose by 23,000, driven mainly by the re-employment of 25,000 workers in the motor vehicle sector, following layoffs in April caused mainly by parts shortages. The manufacturing sector, at 12.3 million employees, remains 509,000 workers below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level.

The JQI is a production of the Coalition for a Prosperous America in partnership with economists from Cornell University. For further information, visit

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