Statement from the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (“JQI”) Team on Vulnerabilities of Jobs in Certain Sectors to the COVID-19 Economic Shutdown

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JQI estimates over 37 million U.S. jobs may be vulnerable to potential layoffs in the short term

In total, we estimate that over 37 million U.S. jobs may be vulnerable to potential layoffs in the short term.

The following is a statement from the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (“JQI”) team on the vulnerabilities of jobs in certain sectors due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

Almost 56% of US production and non-supervisory jobs (about 59.5 million jobs) offer weekly incomes below the $802 weighted average weekly income for all such jobs. Together, those low-quality jobs offer a weighted average of $539 in weekly income, or just over $28,000 per year.

There is a subset of these workers, in jobs often offering substantially less income than the above average, who are particularly vulnerable to cessation of economic activity due to the spreading pandemic. Many occupy front-line, customer-facing jobs that offer both low hourly wages and a limited number of hours of work per week.

In addition, there are several higher quality job sectors – such as air transportation – that are seeing shutdowns due to industry-specific, as opposed to generalized consumer, inactivity.

The JQI Team has prepared an advisory list of the sectors that we believe are likely to face the most severe levels of short-term job loss, divided into low and high quality job categories, respectively, as defined by the JQI methodology.

A link to the PDF and associated tables can be found here, and at

In total, we estimate that over 37 million U.S. jobs may be vulnerable to potential layoffs in the short term.

In connection with the list, set forth on the following pages, the following should be noted:

  • The job totals here incorporate only production and non-supervisory jobs. There are other management level jobs in each of the below sectors, although they are less likely to suffer layoffs.
  • The list assumes that the COVID-19 crisis does not ultimately result in widespread, long-term, layoffs of goods producing workers (i.e. that the crisis will be of modest duration). It focuses on those workers in sectors that are effectively being forced to shut down as a result of social-distancing recommendations or shelter-in-place requirements. Accordingly, the list assumes that the freight transportation, warehousing and wholesaling sectors will continue to remain in relatively sustained operation.

The JQI Team wishes all good health and encourages full cooperation with government advisories aimed at restricting the transmission of the novel coronavirus, so as to limit the duration of this crisis.

The U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (patent pending) is a joint development of the Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets at the Jack G. Clarke Institute of Cornell Law School, the University of Missouri Kansas City Department of Economics, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, and the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity.

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©2020 JQI IP Holdings LLC.] “Private Sector Job Quality Index” and “JQI” are registered trademarks of JQI IP Holdings LLC. The Private Sector Job Quality Index is patent pending, application number US 62/900,923. Cornell logo and Cornell Law School and Jack G. Clarke Program names and references used with permission.

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Elise Perkins
Rally Point Media Strategies
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