New Hires Quality Wage Index slips 0.3 percent from April as hiring rebounds


The Upjohn Institute New Hires Quality Index shows the inflation-adjusted earnings power of people starting a new job fell 0.3 percent between April and May, 2020. The wage index is still up 0.4 percent from the previous year.

In this month's release, I split new hires into those who changed jobs and those who are newly employed. While hiring volume overall was up 4.4 percent over the month, I find that hiring volume for newly employed workers shot up 8.4 percent in May—to an all-time high—while volume for workers who changed employers actually dropped 3.8 percent.

But were the groups hit hardest by COVID-19-related job losses the same as those experiencing the hiring surge? Compared to April job losses, May's new hires were younger, less likely to be Black or Asian, less likely to have graduated college, and slightly less likely to be female.

If new COVID-19 diagnoses keep increasing, workers in highly exposed occupations will again see hiring dry up. Even if the virus spread slows, job losses and reduced hiring in higher-paid occupations could pull down the labor market well into 2021.

Details are in this month’s full news release.


Brad J. Hershbein headshot

Brad J. Hershbein

Senior Economist and Deputy Director of Research

Research Topics: Local Labor Markets