WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today announced that the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) rose to 80.43 in February, up 0.33%from the previous month, reflecting a rise in high-wage jobs that exceeded the rise in low-wage jobs in the month.
The job count grew significantly in high-quality sectors including construction, professional/business services, and transportation/warehousing/utilities. This was partially offset by growth in low-quality jobs in retail and restaurants.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the U.S. added 431,000 workers to payrolls in March, with the unemployment rate declining to 3.6%. The manufacturing sector added 38,000 jobs, to reach 12.66 million employees in March. Manufacturing employment growth was notably strong in transportation equipment, up by 11,000 employees, suggesting that the auto industry may be beginning to recover from the supply chain snafus and shortages.
The JQI report shows that in February, the mean weekly income of all U.S. private sector production and nonsupervisory workers rose 0.89% to $918.72. On an annual basis, that figure is up 7.03% over the February2021 level, showing that total production and nonsupervisory wages just about keeping pace with therate of inflation. However, sectors that lost workers during the pandemic are still offering large wage increases to attract workers. Sectors like Restaurants, Personal Care Services and Traveler Accommodation continue to show double-digit weekly income increases over the year-ago figures.
“The Job Quality Index continues to show that low-quality jobs dominate the U.S. economy, accounting for over 55% of the total of production and nonsupervisory jobs,” said CPA chief economist Jeff Ferry. “As the service sector continues to grow in the coming months, I expect job quality to decline further.”
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.