A record number of American workers quit their jobs in November as the “Great Resignation” continues to impact the labor market, according to federal statistics released Tuesday.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 4.5 million workers voluntarily left their jobs in the month. That number increased from 4.2 million openings in October.
The largest increases in resignations occurred in hospitality and health care industries as workers seek better opportunities. The transportation, warehousing, and utilities also experienced a spike.
The overall “quits rate,” or resignations as a percentage of the workforce, was 3 percent. The rate matched a high established in September. The total number of separations, or resignations, layoffs and discharges, was 6.3 million in November.
“Lots of quits means stronger worker bargaining power which will likely feed into strong wage gains,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab. “Wage growth was very strong in 2021, and if we keep seeing the quits rate near 3 percent, we might see more of the same in 2022.”
US employers have been locked in competition to fill roles in a tight pandemic-era labor market, with major companies repeatedly noting their difficulties in finding talent. Market conditions have provided workers with more leverage and stoked wage growth.
However, data suggest rising inflation has effectively erased wage gains for many workers.
Employers posted 10.6 million job openings in November. The number declined from 11.1 million openings in October.
Employers hired 6.7 million workers for the month. That number rose from 6.5 million in October.
The data was drawn from the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey. The numbers did not include the impact of the Omicron variant, which has impacted businesses in recent months.
“While each successive wave of the pandemic caused less economic damage, there is still a risk to the labor market from the current surge of cases. Hopefully any disruption is temporary and minimal, because the outlook for 2022 is strong,” Bunker added.
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