Hiring dynamics looking increasingly shaky: New Hires Quality Index

Nashville downtown skyline

Jan. 31, 2024

The Upjohn Institute New Hires Quality Index continues to fall, down 0.3 percent between November and December, to $19.97, and 1.0 percent off its peak last July. Hiring volume also fell, down 1.3 percent in December and 4.2 percent over the year.   

In this month’s news release, Index creator Brad Hershbein compares hiring in metropolitan and nonmetro areas, finding a reversal of earlier trends in the wage index. After peaking in July, the wage index for metro areas dropped 1.3 percent over the last five months while the wage index for nonmetro areas grew 1.0 percent.

The wage index growth for nonmetro areas probably didn’t come because more people were being hired in professional and managerial occupations, however. Nonmetro hiring volume is down 9.8 percent since summer of 2022 and the hiring rate, which accounts for population change, is off 3.5 percent just since July.

Hiring has also declined in metro areas, but not as severely. The share of the total earnings power among new hires held by nonmetro workers inched up over 2023 but has declined steadily over the years, down more than 5 percentage points since 2005. In all, Hershbein concludes, hiring dynamics going into 2024 look increasingly shaky.

Read the full release or explore the index.

Date: January 31, 2024