Across the country, people are quitting their jobs at record rates.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August. The nationwide termination rate rose to 2.9% of the workforce. This is the highest percentage ever reported by the BLS range of Job Opportunities and Worker Sales Survey.
To put the August numbers in perspective, the number of workers who have left their jobs has increased by 242,000 since July – and by around 1.3 million since August 2020, with a total of nearly 3 million fired.
Experts point out that people are quitting their jobs as workers across the country demand higher wages, better working conditions and critical support in their daily lives.
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“There is no such thing as a ‘labor shortage’. There’s a lack of childcare, a lack of living wages, a lack of dangerous assets, a lack of paid sick leave, and a lack of healthcare, “said Robert Reich, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former US Secretary of Labor. wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “As long as these bottlenecks are not resolved, the Americans will not be returning to work any time soon.”
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In addition, job vacancies fell to 10.4 million by the end of August – 659,000 from July. 10.4 million is still a high number, especially compared to last year. In August 2020 there were around 6.5 million vacancies.
Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, says the high number of job vacancies can contribute to the churn rate.
“There are now about 50% more job vacancies than before the pandemic,” she told USA TODAY. “Someone who was previously passively looking for a new job may have seen five or six relevant job postings. Now they see 10 or more. There are simply more attractive alternatives.”
Pollak acknowledged that these job shifts could potentially have positive effects, such as increasing pressure on companies to create healthier work environments and competitive wages and benefits.
Pollak added that the demand for remote positions has increased significantly since the pandemic began. More than 50% of the interviewed job seekers on ZipRecruiter want to work from home.
“That’s an amazing number because typically only about 10% of jobs offer this opportunity,” she said. “Only about 37% of jobs in the US could theoretically be done from home. Most jobs have to be done in person … [And] These large industries, where employees have to work on-site and in close contact with other people, are the ones where the number of layoffs has increased the most. “
According to the latest JOLTS report, the rate of total breakups (including layoffs, layoffs, and layoffs) rose nationwide from 3.9% in July to 4.1% in August. The industries with the highest break-up rates in August included accommodation and catering services, leisure and hospitality, and retail.
The number of new hires also fell to 6.3 million in August – 439,000 fewer than in July. The number of layoffs and layoffs fell slightly, from 1% in July to 0.9% in August.
Will these trends continue? Pollak noted that it was important to prepare for lasting effects.
“Anyone who expected these things to be really short-lived and perishable has been proven wrong,” she said. “[Think of] the companies that told their employees in March (2020) to work from home for the next two weeks – two weeks are clearly becoming two years and possibly more. So this is not just a short-term problem. “