According to the CIBC World Markets' US Employment Quality Index (EQI), the past three years have seen an eight point drop in the quality of U.S. jobs. The data confirms a trend toward lower paying, less stable, self-employed and part-time jobs at the expense of higher-quality jobs in sectors such as the transportation, utilities, natural resources and manufacturing industries. The EQI report examines job stability, compensation and part-time v. full-time employment in establishing the EQI.
The report indicates the number of part-timers rose more than 5% since early 2002. Since the economic expansion got underway in late 2001, the number of jobs in high-paying industries fell by more than 2% while the number of jobs in low-paying industries rose by 1.2%. The report concludes given the swap of good for bad jobs it will take 20% more jobs than in the last expansion to generate the same salary gain.
The overall drop in the quality index in recent years means the vast majority of jobs lost were high quality and the labor market will have to close not only the employment gap but also the quality gap.