September 02, 2020

Utah Job Quality Report 2020

In Honor of Labor Day, Voices for Utah Children releases Utah Job Quality Report 2020

Salt Lake City -- This morning Voices for Utah Children released the "Utah Job Quality Report 2020." The report was released four days before Labor Day, the annual holiday when we celebrate work and workers. The report provides a look at the quality of jobs in Utah in terms of wages and other criteria for evaluating the quality of jobs, such as work hours, non-standard employment, and safety.  The report compares Utah to the nation and to three neighboring states: Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada. 

The first part of the report looks at wage growth since 2010 at different income levels based on two different sources: the federal surveys of employers and of residents. The results include the following charts, which show that Utahns at nearly every income level outperformed the nation for wage increases from 2010 to 2018: 



The second part of the report introduces a new innovation in the field of Utah economics: The Utah Job Quality Index, an idea envisioned and researched by University of Utah economics undergraduate student Matthew Gordon during his spring 2020 internship with Voices for Utah Children. This is, as far as we are aware, the first effort to create a comprehensive index that makes it possible to compare Utah to the nation and to other states in the quality of jobs according to six different dimensions comprising among them 14 different criteria of job quality.  The report finds that Utah scores a 51.9 on the weighted Job Quality Index (on a scale of 0-100), well above the national score of 44.5. Utah also scores higher than Nevada (43.9) and Idaho (28.4) but far below Colorado (78.1). The report breaks down the scores so that the reader can see how the four states compare to each other and the nation by each of the six dimensions and by the 14 components of the six dimensions. 

JQI Job Quality Index resultsJQI Job Quality Index results by dimension 1

 The most important dimension of the Job Quality Index and the one receiving the greatest weight -- half the value of the index -- is wages, including the following charts comparing hourly wages at the middle and at the bottom of the wage scale: 

table6JQI 10th ile Hrly Wage COL adj 2018

The other 12 criteria comprising the Job Quality Index include the following: 

JQI earning pov wage 2018

JQI avg Work Week Hours by state

JQI part time empl overall by state

JQI part time empl by sex by state

JQI Wage ratio Hisp to White

JQI Wage Ratio Female to Male

The report also includes supplemental information about some of the topics, such as the states' rankings for wages for low-income and median-income workers, both unadjusted and adjusted for each state's cost of living: 

JQI Table 4 state wage rankings

The report was written by Connor Hill, a graduate student, and Matthew Gordon, an undergraduate student, both in the Economics Department of the University of Utah, under the supervision of Matthew Weinstein, State Priorities Partnership Director at Voices for Utah Children. The full 30-page report is downloadable as a pdf document here.