A record number of workers are quitting their jobs, supporting the idea that America is undergoing a “Great Resignation.”
Workers are voluntarily leaving workplaces that don’t seem to serve them, and the resignations are highest in sectors like hotels and restaurants, according to a federal report released Tuesday. From July to August, the rate of people quitting increased by 2.9%, representing 242,000 more people. Of this number, 157,000 were from hotels and restaurants. Overall, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August.
People aren’t just handing in their pink slips. Many workers have refrained from entering the job market altogether.
While COVID-related unemployment insurance ended last month (and many conservative-led states rushed to end the benefits earlier), there wasn’t the mass wave of people returning to work that employers may have expected, despite myriad layoffs early in the pandemic.
According to federal unemployment numbers, the current unemployment rate of 4.8% is still higher than it was pre-pandemic (3.5% in February 2020).
With reports of food service workers being attacked and harassed, it’s hard to blame people for taking their talents elsewhere. Not to mention employers who are still trying to attract workers by barely paying a livable wage.
As economist Joe Brusuelas told CNN, we may be experiencing the start of the “golden age for the American worker.” He added, “the American worker is now confident that he or she has the bargaining power and can obtain a reasonable wage — and have influence over the shape of working conditions.”
WATCH: Black women like Deatric Edie are fighting for a $15 minimum wage
There’s no guarantee how these trends will ultimately develop. But for now, it looks like many Americans aren’t just scrambling for any old job, but holding out for better work overall.