The Great Resignation: Which States Have Been Hit the Hardest — And Which Have Not

Fired female employee holding box of belongings in an office.
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Americans have been leaving the workforce in record numbers in recent months, contributing to a “Great Resignation” that has left employers fighting for a dwindling supply of labor. But like any trend, the Great Resignation has not affected all regions of the country equally — and in this case, states in the Mountain and Southeast regions might be faring the best, and the Northeast the worst.

See: Great Resignation Not Over: 4.2 Million Americans Quit their Jobs in October
Find: How Companies Can Use the Great Resignation To Transform the Workplace

The South, West and Midwest regions had the highest percentage of workers quitting their jobs in September, according to a new report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) based on recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Each of those regions had “quit rate” ratios of 3% or higher in September, based on total employment. The Northeast had a quit rate ratio of 2.2%.

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At the same time, the South led all regions in hiring workers, with a hire rate of 4.9% of total employment. The Midwest and the West had rates of 4.3% and 4.2%, respectively, while the Northeast had a rate of 3.7%.

What this means is that comparatively speaking, a lot of people are quitting jobs in the South and finding new employment due to a hiring spree. Conversely, not that many workers are quitting jobs in the Northeast, but that might be because they don’t see as many attractive openings.

If you use unemployment stats to gauge the Great Resignation’s impact, then the states faring the best are Nebraska, with an unemployment rate of only 2% in September; Utah (2.4%); Idaho (2.9%); and Idaho (2.9%). Those faring the worst are California (7.5%); Nevada (7.5%); New York (7.1%); and New Jersey (7.1%).

Here are how things break down according to other employment metrics in September:

Highest Quit Rates (as % of total employment)

Wyoming: 4.8%

Montana: 4.8%

Nevada: 4.5%

Colorado: 4.3%

Alaska: 4.3%

Lowest Quit Rates

New York: 2.0%

New Jersey: 2.2%

Pennsylvania 2.2%

Minnesota: 2.2%

Iowa: 2.5%

Highest Hire Rates

Alaska: 6.9%

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Nevada: 6.2%

Montana: 5.6%

Mississippi: 5.5%

Georgia: 5.5%

See: Remote Workers Hired During the Pandemic Are More Likely Quit Jobs
Find: More Than 40 Percent of Caregivers Might Be Forced to Quit Jobs Instead of Returning to the Office, Study Finds

Lowest Hire Rates

Minnesota: 3.1%

New York: 3.5%

Pennsylvania 3.7%

Kansas 3.7%

Washington: 3.9%

The Economy Moving Forward

As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues, and other problems, it remains to be seen how both the private and the public sectors will work to navigate these crises.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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