4.4 million people have voluntarily left their jobs.
The economy has started to reopen with 11.2 million job openings as of November 5. The latest job report saw little change in the labor participation rate.
Well, the Labor Department revealed on Friday that people quitting their jobs hit an all-time high in September:
The so-called quits rate—a measurement of workers leaving jobs as a share of overall employment—was 3% in September, a record high, Friday’s Labor Department data showed, a sign of worker confidence in the job market. Total quits, which reflects the number of jobs that workers left voluntarily, hit another record at 4.4 million.
Total job openings have been well above their pre-pandemic peak—about 7.5 million in November 2018—since February, when Covid-19 vaccinations initially ramped up and the U.S. economy started to more broadly reopen. Many of the open jobs are in warehousing, shipping and consumer-facing retail, a trend that is likely to be supercharged by the holiday shopping season and strong consumer demand.
Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed, said that a lot of the quitting “has been job switching.”
It’s also not widespread while seasonal jobs with end dates have sprouted:
A separate state-level report showed the rate at which workers were quitting in August—the latest data available—wasn’t widespread across the U.S. The so-called quits rate that month increased in 14 states, with the largest increases occurring in Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota. Growth in job openings has been more uniform, according to Indeed. With the exception of Honolulu, postings are at least 25% above the pre-pandemic baseline in all large metros, it said.
New openings, especially seasonal ones with set end dates, are growing rapidly. The National Retail Federation, an industry group, anticipates that retailers will hire 500,000 to 665,000 seasonal workers compared with the 486,000 they hired in 2020. Target Corp. aims to hire 100,000 seasonal workers and around 30,000 warehouse employees, while Walmart Inc. wants to hire 150,000. Many of those positions are offered as permanent.
So who is quitting? The low-wage and front-line workers:
Among front-line and low-wage workers in Mercer’s survey, 37% of food, retail and hospitality staffers are thinking of quitting, up from a historic norm of 27% among eight million employee responses collected by the company over the past five years.
Nearly half of low-wage and front-line workers surveyed said their pay and benefits were insufficient while 41% said they felt burned out from demanding workloads. Some 35% of Black employees and 40% of Asian employees said they were considering leaving, compared with 26% of white employees. Historically, Black and Asian employees have reported considering quitting at rates just under 30%, consistent with the general workforce.
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