The Great Resignation: Why Are Millions of Americans Quitting their Jobs?

Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs at a record-setting pace in August, according to a new government report. This mass exodus is part of a social phenomenon economists are calling “The Great Resignation”. 

Around 4.3 million people quit in August, the most on record dating back to December 2000 — and 300,000 more than in July, according to the Labor Department report, primarily consisting of restaurant workers and retail workers. The people who quit in the last two months are the equivalent of 3 percent of the US workforce.

Hiring in August also plunged sharply — down to 6.3 million from 6.8 million in July — despite the number of available jobs remaining near record-high levels.

In the past year, open jobs have increased 62 percent, though available jobs did fall to 10.4 million in August, from a record high of 11.1 million in July.

Quits in August at restaurants, bars and hotels jumped 21 percent compared to the previous month for a total of 900,000.

And August saw a 6 percent jump in retail workers leaving their jobs.

Why is this happening? Reports say that the coronavirus has made people more acutely aware of what they want in their career and life, as many suddenly had more time on their hands to pause and reflect.

Recommended Read: Is It Possible to Get Unemployment Benefits After Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine?

According to a survey done by IBM, 30 percent of Americans would quit if they were forced to go back to the office instead of being allowed to work remotely. Prioritizing their happiness and mental health seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds and Americans are recognizing that a new mindset is needed to improve quality of life. 

This great shift is prompting employers to raise wages and offer promotions to keep their talent pool.

Economists agree that if workers were more willing to make career switches, this could lead to a more dynamic workforce and higher wages.

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