Weakness in the goods sector: New Hires Quality Index

Workers on a cardboard factory line

The Upjohn Institute New Hires Quality Index reversed a five-month fall with a 0.2 percent gain between December 2023 and January, to $20.00. The wage index is 0.8 percent off its July peak but still 2.5 percent above its prepandemic level. Hiring volume grew slightly for the month, up 0.1 percent, but is still down 3.6 percent over the year.   

In this month’s news release, Index creator Brad Hershbein compares hiring in the goods and services sectors. The two sectors’ wage indices went in different directions during 2023, with services holding about even while goods dropped 2.0 percent.

Hiring rates dropped for both sectors, with services down 4.3 percent from its prepandemic level, twice the size of goods’ 2.1 percent dropoff. Through this, the goods sector has managed to hold onto its share of the earnings power of all new hires, down just 0.2 percent since February 2020.

Read the full release or explore the index.

Date: March 6, 2024