Oct 21, 2021 - Economy

Inequality Index signals October jobs growth for lower-income Americans

Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Polling for the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index suggests that as the Delta variant ebbed over the last month, job security improved for lower-income Americans.

The big picture: As a result of the improving environment, the Inequality Index this month declined to its lowest point since April — reversing a significant spike in September.

Why it matters: The sharp reversal shows that “the impact of the Delta variant on the economy was largely acute rather than chronic,” John Leer, Morning Consult chief economist, tells Axios.

  • High-frequency data like this and others that Morning Consult has analyzed imply that more individuals are going back to work — and that the October employment report might show more job growth than the disappointing figures of the last two months.

The details: The share of workers earning less than $50,000 a year expecting to experience a loss of employment income in the next four weeks fell to 14.9% in October from 16.8% in September.

  • Adults in the same category who lacked savings to cover basic expenses for one month fell by more than 3 percentage points to 27.7%.

The bottom line: “Continued improvements in income inequality will depend on labor market tightness,” Leer says. “Should reported labor shortages translate into increased leverage for lower-wage workers, wage growth at the bottom end of the income spectrum will likely continue to outpace inflation and boost relative living standards.”

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