Job Quality Index Rises 0.67% as US Adds 379,000 Jobs in February

The Job Quality Index (JQI) rose 0.67% to 81.58 in the March reading as the decline in low-quality jobs prompted a small increase in the JQI. The JQI report showed that the mean weekly wage for all P&NS workers increased to $862.28, a change of 0.69% from its revised level the month prior. The JQI, produced by the Coalition for a Prosperous America in partnership with academics from Cornell Law School, measures the ratio of high-quality to low-quality jobs where high quality is defined as weekly wages above the mean weekly wage and low quality as weekly wages below the mean weekly wage. The JQI is limited to production and nonsupervisory (P&NS) workers, excluding management and business owners.

Today’s monthly employment report from the US Department of Labor said that total nonfarm employment rose by 379,000. Most of the job gains (355,000) occurred in the leisure and hospitality sectors as some Covid-19 related restrictions have been eased. Smaller gains came from temporary services (53,000), retail (41,000), healthcare and social assistance (46,000). Manufacturing employment increased 21,000 led by gains in transportation equipment (10,000). Despite these gains manufacturing employment is still lower by 561,000 jobs than it was in February last year.

“As the country emerges from depressed levels of output and employment, it is imperative that federal stimulus, trade policy, and ‘Build Back Better’ programs focus on increasing domestic production and market share in US manufacturing, the key sector of our economy that provides high-quality jobs for Americans,” said Jeff Ferry, Chief Economist for the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

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