The number of Americans leaving their jobs ballooned to 4.4 million in September, adding another all-time high after notching a record 4.3 million in August, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey.
At that level, 3% of workers gave up their jobs.
According to a news story in The Washington Post, the “Great Resignation” shows no signs of slowing down, as the so-called “quits” rate is increasingly becoming an issue the government cannot explain.
Meanwhile, the number of unfilled jobs remained at 10.4 million in October, bucking expectations that job openings would decline slightly during the month. The percentage of workers who have handed in their notice signals that Americans are switching jobs for better pay, quitting to start their own businesses, or continuing to struggle with child care and school schedules as the pandemic lingers.
Despite employers dangling higher pay and signing bonuses as a way to recruit new workers, higher inflation is eating away at Americans’ buying power.
Add in that COVID-19 infections remain high in some regions, and you have the unfortunate recipe that keeps many Americans from taking or staying in jobs that involve interacting with the public, such as working in retail or restaurants.
“Labor supply drags from COVID concerns appear sizable and will likely linger in the medium-term, since it may take some time for some people to feel comfortable returning to work,” noted Goldman Sachs analysts in a research note ahead of the government’s latest quits data.
The industries with the highest quit rates in September included the arts, entertainment, and recreation, as well as state and local government education, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday.