Quits Still High in February with 4.4 Million Americans Ditching their Jobs

female office worker sending resignation letter to boss.
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Despite attraction and retention incentives or pay increases, the labor market continues to be tight, as the number of job openings was little changed at 11.3 million in February, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report that came out on March 29.

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In addition, the number of quits increased in February with 4.4 million, or 2.9%, of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs, according to the Labor Department. Quits increased in retail trade, durable goods manufacturing and state and local government education, and decreased in finance and insurance.

Hires edged up to 6.7 million while total separations — which includes quits, layoffs and discharges — were little changed at 6.1 million.

Jeanniey Walden, CMO of DailyPay, told GOBankingRates that the latest JOLTS report paints a familiar picture of American workers switching jobs at record rates.

“While job openings held steady at 11.3 million, quits reached a near-record 4.4 million and hires rose 4% to 6.7 million, notching a twelfth consecutive month above the 6 million mark,” Walden said. “Employers are increasingly frustrated that their pay hikes aren’t working. But this steadily rising tide of turnover isn’t impacting all companies equally. Employers who are leveraging technology to deliver a customized consumer-like experience to their workforces are actually seeing their employee engagement and retention metrics improve. Employees are consuming an experience, not just a paycheck.”

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The Labor Department said that job openings decreased in finance and insurance and in nondurable goods manufacturing. Meanwhile, job openings increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation, educational services and federal government. In terms of regions, job openings decreased in the Midwest region and increased in the West region in February.

Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Funday, Mark Homza, told GOBankingRates that the current shortages and imbalances in the labor market are being felt most heavily in the finance and insurance sector while arts, entertainment and recreation are experiencing stronger signs of growth.

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“While the labor market is extremely tight I’m confident we’ll see gradual improvements throughout the course of the year that will allow us to match pre-pandemic levels,” Homza said. “The JOLTS report indicates signs of rebound but as we’re seeing a major shift in Americans’ job choices it will ultimately put pressure on businesses residing in industries who are facing worker shortages the most.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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