The Great Resignation won’t quit: Record 4.5M people left jobs

Job seekers market gives people more options and chance for better pay

The quits rate just won’t quit breaking records.

In November, a record 4.5 million people voluntarily quit their jobs nationally, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 3% quits rate, which matched September’s record quits rate, is a measure of a worker’s willingness or ability to leave a job and experts say it often means a person has found a better job.

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“It’s a job seekers’ market,” Garth McLean, Montgomery County’s interim director of workforce development, said in an interview last fall. “What we are seeing is that people are aware that the job market is good and they’re going out to see how much their skills are going to bring them.”

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Garth McLean, Montgomery County interim director of workforce development.

Credit: Contributed

Garth McLean, Montgomery County interim director of workforce development.

Credit: Contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Garth McLean, Montgomery County interim director of workforce development.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The highest number of quits were in accommodation and food services, both industry sectors hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and still struggling to find and retain workers.

Also in November in the U.S., there were:

  • 10.6 million job openings.
  • 6.7 million hires.
  • 1.4 million layoffs and involuntary discharges.
  • 377,000 other separations, which are due to retirements, transfers, disability or death.
  • 6.9 million unemployed people.

After COVID-19 hit, 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April 2020, the unemployment rate reached 14.7% and the pandemic led to widespread shutdowns and an economic recession. The recovery of jobs and decline in unemployment has been remarkably fast compared to previous recessions but economic disruptions remain, including a labor shortage, supply chain bottlenecks, and inflation.

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A "now hiring" sign outside of Lock 27 Brewing in downtown Dayton. Lock 27 has several job openings posted on its website. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A "now hiring" sign outside of Lock 27 Brewing in downtown Dayton. Lock 27 has several job openings posted on its website. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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A "now hiring" sign outside of Lock 27 Brewing in downtown Dayton. Lock 27 has several job openings posted on its website. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Companies are struggling to fill job openings, which experts attribute to health concerns over COVID-19, families’ difficulties finding affordable, quality child care, schools closing and reopening, and what is dubbed The Great Resignation. Companies also struggle to match workers with the skills jobs require.

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Monthly reports this year keep breaking records for the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs nationally.

The first time the quits rate record was broken was in April, when nearly 4 million people, or 2.8% of all employees, voluntarily quit their jobs. That was the highest number and rate since the U.S. Department of Labor began tracking quits in 2000.

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“That’s typically a sign of a really strong labor market,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at Chicago-based global outplacement and career transitioning firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., in an interview last fall.

“It’s typically a sign that employees are feeling really confident that they can go out and find another job.”

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Taco Street Co, Kitchen Manager, Duane Walker, left, and owner, Anthony Thomas prepare Birria Tacos. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Taco Street Co, Kitchen Manager, Duane Walker, left, and owner, Anthony Thomas prepare Birria Tacos. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Taco Street Co, Kitchen Manager, Duane Walker, left, and owner, Anthony Thomas prepare Birria Tacos. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Anthony Thomas was one who quit his job in 2020, leaving a fire truck manufacturing firm to open his Taco Street Co. restaurant at the Fairfield Commons Mall.

“Everyone doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur,” Thomas said in an interview last year “Some people love the security of getting a paycheck every week. I feel like I’m self-driven.”

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See more Dayton Daily News stories about The Great Resignation, the labor shortage and finding jobs:

Job seekers’ market brings better pay amid the Great Resignation

Entrepreneur and recent college grad plot new course because of pandemic

Five things: How to resign from a job

Job churn includes more workers quitting by choice than being laid off

PHOTOS: From fire trucks to tacos, entrepreneur makes big change during pandemic

The Great Mismatch: Why aren’t companies with record job openings connecting with applicants?

How to ace a job interview

5 things to know about job hunting

5 things to know about finding workers

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