Across the country, people are leaving their jobs at record rates.
According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August. The nationwide quit rate increased to 2.9% of the workforce. That's the highest percentage ever reported by the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey series.
To put August's numbers in perspective, the number of workers who quit their jobs rose by 242,000 from July — and by around 1.3 million since August 2020, which recorded a total of almost 3 million quits.
Experts stress that people are leaving their jobs as workers across the country are demanding higher pay, better employment conditions and critical support in their daily lives.
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"There is no 'labor shortage.' There's a child care shortage, a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a healthcare shortage," Robert Reich, UC Berkeley professor of public policy and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "Until these shortages are remedied, Americans won't return to work anytime soon."
In addition, job openings declined to 10.4 million by the end of August — dropping by 659,000 from July. 10.4 million is still a high number, especially in comparison to last year. In August 2020, there were about 6.5 million job openings.
Julia Pollak, the chief economist at ZipRecruiter, says the high number of job openings can contribute to the quit rate.
"There are now about 50% more job openings than there were before the pandemic," she told USA TODAY. "Someone who was passively looking for a new job before might have seen five or six job postings that are relevant. Now they're seeing 10 or more. There's just more attractive alternatives."
Pollak acknowledged there may be potentially positive effects that come with these employment shifts, with pressure gaining on companies to create healthier work environments and competitive pay and benefits, for example.
Pollak added that there's been a significant increase in demand for remote positions since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 50% of surveyed job seekers on ZipRecruiter are looking to work from home.
"That's a staggering number because typically only about 10% of jobs offer that opportunity," she said. "Only about 37% of jobs in the U.S. could theoretically be done from home. The majority of jobs must be done in person, on-site... [And] those major industries that require people to work on-site, in close contact with other people, those are the ones that have seen the steepest increases in quits."
According to the recent JOLTS report, the rate of total separations (including quits, layoffs and discharges) nationwide rose from 3.9% in July to 4.1% in August. Industries that saw the highest separation rates in August included accommodation and food services, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade.
The number of hires also decreased in August, to 6.3 million — down by 439,000 from July. The rate of layoffs and discharges decreased slightly, from 1% in July to 0.9% in August.
Will these trends continue? Pollak noted that it's important to prepare for lasting impacts.
"Anyone who expects that these things will be really short-lived and transitory has been proved wrong," she said. "[Think of] the companies that told their workers to go work from home in March (2020) for the next two weeks — there's two weeks clearly turning into two years, and possibly more. So this is not just a short term issue."
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/10/13/americans-quit-jobs-in-record-numbers/8433917002/880