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

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U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index Revised to 83.25, from Previous Month - Reflecting a Lower Proportion of Low Quality Production and Non-Supervisory Jobs Relative to the Total of All Such Jobs.

Following the release of the Employment Situation Report for October 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 83.25, up by 0.46% from its revised level one month earlier and reflecting a lower proportion - relative to the prior month - 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 remains heavily impacted by the extraordinary disruption in the number and composition of private sector production and non-supervisory jobs since the beginning of the U.S. impact of the COVID19 global pandemic, with regard to which the following additional special factors should be noted:

  • the BLS Employment Situation Report for October reflects a similar pace in the restoration of private sector payrolls to that seen last month as the economy slowly restabilizes following the COVID19-related economic lockdowns in the U.S. As many – but not all – of the millions of workers in Low Quality jobs who were laid off during the peak crisis months have returned to their jobs, the JQI is slowly reverting back to its pre-lockdown, lower levels;
  • evidenced by (a) our updated survey, with data through September 27, 2020, in cooperation with RIWI Corp., are that workers “re-payrolled,” via the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) established pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), are again being laid off, and (b) the continuation of extraordinarily high levels of weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, many firms ability to maintain payrolls at levels reflected in the October BLS report may be additionally impaired in coming months, which would slow or reverse the renewed decline in the JQI, noted in item (i), above; 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 since the elimination of large numbers of Low Quality Jobs.

The mean weekly wage income of all P&NS jobs as of the current reading (which reflects the level as of September 2020) Increased to $842.36, a change of 0.16% from its revised level the month prior. This reflects the large number of previously-eliminated low-wage/low hours jobs added back to payrolls through July. The JQ-Instant™ preliminary read of the 906,000 gain in all private sector, non-farm payrolls for October 2020 shows that all 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 reading was due to a combination of a large increase job formation in traditional Low Quality Job sectors, plus the dramatic increase in the average weekly income for all P&NS jobs resulting from the elimination of millions of Low Quality Jobs during the COVID19 crisis, causing several marginal sectors to fall below the new average.

Daniel Alpert, co-creator of the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index, said, "With the recovery from the COVID19-related economic lockdowns, we continue to get data that requires careful interpretation. The elimination of millions of Low Quality Jobs has produced a far higher average weekly income level for all production and non-supervisory jobs. As that trend reverses, we expect JQI and JQ-Instant data to normalize."

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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