High-Wage Workers Win in April

    The U.S. economy disappointed market expectations by adding only 160,000 jobs, the lowest number since September 2015. The private sector hired 171,000, meaning government entities shed 11,000 workers.

    Although April was a clear slowdown in hiring, Dent Research finds that most of the job additions went to well-paying industries. In fact, nearly two-thirds of new jobs rose above our measured median wage.

    The economy bucked the long-running trend of hiring at the lowest wage scale, contributing to just 3.6% of April’s hires. For now, at least, the economy has had its fill of retail workers.

    Professional and technical services were the biggest winner of the month, adding over 31,000 jobs. These high-skill industries pay just under $40 per hour, ninth highest of the 84 major industries we study.

    Despite the good news in high-wage markets, the stubborn U-shaped trend of middle-wage jobs lagging behind refuses to break. The middle third saw just 15% of the job additions.

    Dent Research President and Index creator Rodney Johnson noted, “The strength in high-paying jobs, coupled with the overall weakness of the number, reflects the lack of entry-level jobs created this month. This could reflect the higher minimum wage requirements across the country, and severely curtail teen hiring in the summer months.”

    Each month Dent Research produces a detailed chart depicting where the job additions fall along the wage scale:

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    The Dent Research Employment Index digs beneath the BLS’ headline numbers to measure the quality of jobs added each month. It provides a more complete picture of the job market by tracking where jobs are being created along the wage scale. For a more detailed explanation of our methodology, please click here to view our employment white paper.


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    Dent Research is an economic forecasting and investment research firm and publisher that works diligently to provide you with the proprietary economic knowledge you need to accurately forecast what lies ahead in our economy so you can take the necessary and appropriate action to ensure prosperity in your business, investment and financial affairs.

    The core of our work is what we call the Dent Method, which our founder and economic expert, Harry S. Dent Jr., developed in the late 1980s. It has the only documented record of success at forecasting long-term economic trends based on the study of and changes in demographic trends and their impact on our economy and the markets. It works by showing how predictable consumer-spending patterns, when combined with demographic trends, allow us to forecast the economy years or even decades in advance.

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