Hiring recovery tilts toward job switchers: New Hires Quality Index

Woman leaving office with possessions after quitting job to take another

The Upjohn Institute New Hires Quality Index shows the earnings power of people starting a new job in September was flat from the previous month at $17.86. After falling the previous month, hiring volume rebounded 2.0 percent between August and September.

In this month's release, Index creator Brad Hershbein again compares the trajectories of individuals transitioning from nonemployment to employment against those switching from one employer to another. Last fall, data suggested that employers were hiring back workers laid off in the spring but already-employed workers were less likely to move into new positions. Since then, vaccines, relief money and the Delta variant of COVID-19 have changed the picture as turnover and wage growth have increased.
Recent trends in the wage index show that newly employed people are taking jobs with lower earnings power than their peers last summer and fall, even as their hiring volume has dropped, but job switchers are seeing the opposite pattern.

Taken together, Hershbein writes, these patterns imply that the overall hiring recovery has moved from previously sidelined workers rejoining the workforce to already-employed workers continuing to look for better opportunities. This suggests that closing the remaining employment gap is likely to be an enduring challenge for policymakers. 

Read the full release or explore the Index.  

Date: November 3, 2021