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U.S. Workers Quitting Jobs in Record Numbers

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 10, 2021

Recent government data shows that, this past April, twice as many Americans quit their jobs than did so one year ago, indicating the growing opportunities for workers amid the economic recovery, MarketWatch reported. About 4 million people quit their jobs last month, the highest number in the past 20 years. The percentage of people quitting their jobs rose to a record 2.8 percent among private-sector workers.

The general explanation seems to be that people are leaving for better-paying jobs (a Bank of America study found job switchers generally made about 13 percent more at their new positions), while others have reevaluated their careers and decided to change tracks. Bloomberg noted, too, that many workers whose companies said they must return to the office are opting to quit rather than give up remote work. It also cited a May survey of 1,000 people, which found that 39 percent would consider quitting if their employers weren't flexible about remote work.

But then, people have always wanted better pay, shorter commutes and jobs better suited to them, even before the pandemic. What's different now is that workers had a lot more breathing room due to the unemployment supplements and stimulus cash. This tracks with a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which concluded that more generous unemployment benefits ultimately lead to people finding better jobs–ones more suited to their skills.

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