JQI Edges Up With Small Increase in High-Quality Jobs

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today announced that the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) rose to 81.17 in March, up 0.91% from the previous month, reflecting a rise in both high-wage and low-wage jobs as the recovery from Covid continues.

Jobs in Professional and Business Services grew by 177,000 in the month. Low-wage sector employment also rose with Accommodation and Food Services jobs up by 74,000. All figures come from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The JQI includes only production and nonsupervisory workers, excluding management and the self-employed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the U.S. added 428,000 workers to payrolls in April, with the unemployment rate remaining at 3.6%. The manufacturing sector added a healthy 55,000 jobs in the month.

The JQI report shows that in March, the mean weekly income of all U.S. private sector production and nonsupervisory workers fell slightly, to $918.00. That is down 0.11% from the previous month but up 5.8% on the year-earlier March level. This annual increase is below the rate of inflation, which was 8.5% in the March report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This illustrates that the typical production/nonsupervisory worker is losing out in real (inflation-adjusted) terms from current inflation. However, specific categories of low-wage workers are still seeing weekly income increases that exceed inflation. Both full-service restaurant workers and limited-service restaurants (i.e. fast food) workers saw annual weekly income increases of 15% in the March JQI data. Traveler Accommodation workers saw an annual increase of 25.66% as hotels and other accommodation services attempt to hire hard-to-find staff.

“Low-quality, i.e. low weekly income jobs, dominate the U.S. landscape for nonsupervisory workers,” said CPA chief economist Jeff Ferry. “As interest rate increases bite over the rest of this year, I expect unemployment rates to begin to rise, hitting low-quality jobs harder than high-quality.”

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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