ADP Workforce Report: Job jumping down, wages up

There finally is something to stop people from jumping jobs: the pandemic.

According to the Workforce Vitality Report released Wednesday by ADP, the U.S. job switching rate declined 2 percentage points since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

And, while the pandemic certainly was the biggest influence on this, ADP chief economist Nela Richardson said it was only one of the reasons.

“Our data shows a decline in job switching, pointing to the pandemic’s effect on worker sentiment of the job market,” she said. “This decline in job switching shows workers staying put, perhaps apprehensive to make the switch or, rather, embracing existing job opportunities brought on by the pandemic such as promotions and additional responsibilities, likely another reason to hold their current job.

“As the workforce moves beyond the one-year mark, we’ll be keeping a close watch on how job-switching behaviors change and evolve as the economy rebounds.”

While many people traditionally change jobs to get an increase in pay, ADP found that wasn’t necessary last year. The average wages for U.S. workers grew 5.9% over the last year, increasing the average wage level by $1.71, to $30.84 an hour.

This, too, was likely caused by the pandemic — but for a more depressing reason: The average wage growth is higher than expected as a result of significant job losses among low wage earners, which increased the average.

Regionally, wage growth has been consistently higher in the Northeast, followed by the West. Job switchers also fared better in the Northeast and the West, with wage growth of 6.9% and 5.9%, respectively. By firm size, larger firms did better both from wage and employment perspective compared to small businesses.

That being said, employment growth year-over-year continued a downward slide, at -7%, due to COVID-19, yet at a slightly slower pace than we have seen in past months.

The ADP Workforce Vitality Report was developed by the ADP Research Institute. It is an in-depth monthly analysis, published quarterly, of the vitality of the U.S. labor market based on actual data that identifies labor market trends and dynamics across multiple dimensions.