The U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI)® July 2020

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U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index Revised to 83.65, from Previous Month - Reflecting a Lower Proportion of Low Quality Production and Non-Supervisory Jobs Relative to the Total of All Such Jobs.

The July data leaves the U.S. with 10.95 million fewer private sector jobs than prior to the crisis, which will prove a deep hole to dig out of."

Following the release of the Employment Situation Report for July 2020 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI)® has been revised to a level of 83.65, up by 0.6% from its revised level one month earlier and reflecting a lower proportion - relative to the prior month, and recent history - of U.S. production and non-supervisory (P&NS) jobs paying less than the mean weekly income of all P&NS jobs (“Low Quality Jobs”), relative to those jobs paying above such mean. The JQI is being heavily and uncharacteristically impacted by the continued unprecedented loss of 10.95 million production and non-supervisory jobs since the beginning of the economic lockdown related to the COVID19 global pandemic (net of additions in May through July), with regard to which the following additional special factors should be noted:

  • the BLS Employment Situation Report for July, as in May and June, likely reflected a rise in private payroll employment resulting from “re-payrolling” of employees via funding through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) established pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act);
  • indications, evidenced in our survey released on August 4, 2020 in cooperation with RIWI Corp., are that workers “re-payrolled” via PPP are again being laid off as the vast majority of PPP funds were disbursed by employers from May through July, leaving in doubt the capacity of many small and medium sized firms to maintain payrolls at levels reflected in the July BLS report;
  • the payroll gains, as reflected in JQ-Instant™ reading, below, were heavily concentrated in sectors offering Low Quality Jobs, indicating the PPPs success in restoring incomes to workers in those sectors and the revival of such sectors due to economic reopening; and
  • the JQI may rise or fall for a period of time to the extent that such large numbers of Low Quality Jobs have been substantially eliminated or restored (temporarily or otherwise), as offset by the significantly higher benchmark mean weekly income used in computing the index.

The mean weekly wage income of all P&NS jobs as of the current reading (which reflects the level as of June 2020) declined to $837.17, a change of -1.40% from its revised level the month prior. This reflects the large number of low-wage/low hours jobs added back to payrolls in June. The JQ-Instant™ preliminary read of the 1.8 million gain in all private sector, non-farm payrolls for July 2020 shows that approximately 91.48% of the gains in private sector jobs were in industry sectors offering P&NS jobs with an average weekly income below the mean weekly income of all P&NS jobs (i.e. “Low Quality Jobs”). This is the highest level of the past three months. The JQ-Instant read shows that re-payrolling through mid-July resulted in gains in the number of Low Quality Jobs in retail, leisure and hospitality, administrative and waste services, and healthcare and social assistance.

Daniel Alpert, co-creator of the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index, said, "The pace of increases in non-farm payrolls in July fell to 1.8 million and is likely to fall more in August as the effects Payroll Protection Program “re-payrolling” end or goes into reverse. The July data leaves the U.S. with 10.95 million fewer private sector jobs than prior to the crisis, which will prove a deep hole to dig out of."

For an explanatory video on the JQI, please see: http://www.vimeo.com/jqi.

This news release presents data from the most recent JQI reading calculated through the month immediately prior to the month covered by this release. The JQI assesses job quality in the United States by measuring desirable higher-wage/higher-hour jobs versus lower-wage/lower-hour jobs. The JQI offers a near-real time analytical tool to policymakers, researchers and financial market participants with relevance to a variety of trends in the economy at large. The JQI analyzes a representative sample of the economy using production and non-supervisory job (P&NS) data from 180 different industry groups spanning across all 20 super-sectors into which the BLS groups establishments. The principal data utilized is contained in the Current Employment Survey (CES, also often referred to as the establishment survey) P&NS data on average weekly hours, average hourly wage and total employment for each given industry group (seasonally adjusted, in all cases). The JQI is updated on a monthly basis contemporaneously with the release of new CES data from the BLS.

The JQ-Instant reading is for the month covered by this release and has implications for the likely direction of the JQI itself in future months. As the JQI is reported as a three-month rolling average of actual monthly readings, significant imbalances (readings varying from an even distribution between high and low quality jobs) in the JQ-Instant results would suggest future JQI readings moving in the direction of the dominant side of such distribution.

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.

For more information, and to read the full report, visit https://www.jobqualityindex.com/.

©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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