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CPA Job Quality Index Reflects More Americans Back at Work

December 04, 2020

The US economy added roughly 245,000 jobs in November, edging the unemployment rate down to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent in October. But those figures indicate a slowdown from last month when the 638,000 jobs were added to payrolls, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

The US Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI)® was revised lower for November, at 82.17, down 0.94% from October. This decline reflects a higher proportion - relative to the prior month - of US production and non-supervisory (P&NS) jobs paying less than the average weekly income of all P&NS jobs (“Low Quality Jobs”), versus those jobs that pay above that average. -- https://www.jobqualityindex.com/

“The JQI index of 82.17 shows that more of the low quality jobs that were lost in the pandemic, typically service sector jobs in restaurants and hospitality, are coming back onto the employment rolls, along with warehousing jobs which continue to grow,” said CPA Chief Economist Jeff Ferry. “That’s good news for workers who need to work. But the low level of the JQI reflects the fact that the US economy is still creating more low quality jobs than high quality jobs.”

According to the new BLS data, the economy added 27,000 manufacturing jobs for a November total of 12,253 million. That figure is still 618,000 below the year-earlier level.

A JQI reading of 100 would mean that every low quality job in the economy was matched by one high quality job, where quality is defined as either above or below the average weekly pay for all P&NS workers in the US economy.  The JQI went steadily down from the series’ launch in 1990 at 94, bottoming at around 77 in the depths of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Since 2012, the series rose to the low 80s as economy recovery boosted both service and manufacturing jobs. The COVID pandemic has hit low quality jobs much harder, ironically boosting the JQI.

Media Contact: 
Melissa Tallman, Director of Marketing and Communications 
202.688.5145 ext 3

Press Release JQI

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