New Hires Quality Index steady as service sector gains, Delta variant looms

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The Upjohn Institute New Hires Quality Index shows the earnings power of people starting a new job in June was unchanged from the previous month. The data don't reflect the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which could further slow the hiring recovery.

In this month's release, Index creator Brad Hershbein looks at how that recovery has differed between workers in the service sector and those in the goods-producing sector. Both saw their wage indices rise in the past year, with stronger growth for goods-producing workers.

Hiring volume, however, grew faster for service workers during the May 2020 hiring surge and stayed higher than that of the goods sector when both fell in recent months. Service-sector hiring remains above its pre-COVID peak, while hiring in the goods-producing sector is closer to its pre-COVID low.

As a result, the service sector's share of the new hires wage bill continues to rise. Service-sector workers now hold about 82 percent of the earnings power of all new hires, up from 78 percent in the early 2000s and an all-time high.

Read the full release or explore the Index.

Date: August 5, 2021