“Great Resignation” Sees Record 4.3 Million Workers Quit Jobs in August 2021

Career

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A record-high 4.3 million workers in the United States quit their jobs as part of the “Great Resignation” in August 2021, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which represents the highest monthly total since the data series began in December 2000.

“Quits” are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee and the “quits rate” can serve as a measure of the willingness or ability of workers to leave their jobs. The “quits rate” rose to 2.9 percent in August 2021, which was also a data series high, with some workers leaving because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The JOLTS report revealed that most public-facing jobs took the biggest hit in August 2021 as a total of 892,000 workers in the food service and accommodation industries left their jobs, 721,000 workers in the retail industry left their jobs, and 534,000 workers in health care and social assistance left their jobs during the month.

The JOLTS report for September 2021 will be released on Friday, November 12, 2021. More information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including information about methodology, is available at https://www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-job-openings-and-labor-turnover-data.htm.

A survey of American workers by a job seeker resource released in September 2021 revealed that the “Great Resignation” that has caused a high number of voluntary “Quits” in 2021 is not over as 1 in 7 workers surveyed – approximately 15 percent of the workforce – said they plan to quit their jobs before the start of 2022.

The survey found 50 percent of respondents said better pay and benefits were the primary motivator to quit jobs. Other top reasons why people were seeking new job opportunities were starting their own business (44 percent), looking for remote work (43 percent), and finding a job about which they are more passionate (41 percent).

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