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A Record Number of People Quit Their Job for Third Consecutive Month

The number of people quitting their jobs hit new records 4 out of the last 6 months and the last 3 in a row.
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Job openingsm Hires, Separation 2021-09

The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover JOLTs Report shows opening on the decline but quits up.

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.  

JOLT Details 

  • The number of job openings was little changed at 10.4 million on the last business day of September. 
  • Hires and total separations were little changed at 6.5 million and 6.2 million, respectively. 
  • Within separations, the quits level and rate increased to a series high of 4.4 million and 3.0 percent, respectively.
  • The quits rate also increased to a series high 3.0 percent. Quits increased in several industries with the largest increases in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000). Quits decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000). 

Prior to 2021, the previous high in quits was 3.627 million in July of 2019. 

Six Months of Quits

  • April 2021: 3.992 Million *
  • May 2021: 3.630 Million
  • June 2021: 3.870 Million
  • July 2021: 4.028 Million *
  • August 2021: 4.270 Million *
  • September 2021: 4.434 Million *

An * denotes a record number of quits.

Quits as Percentage of the Labor Force

Quits as Percentage of Labor Force 2021-09

On a percentage basis, the previous high water mark was all the way back in January of 2021 at 2.26%. 

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Quits met or exceeded 2.26% for the last 6 months including new records for the last three months.

Historically, a plateau at or above the 2% area was recession territory. 

Demographically speaking however, there is plenty of reason to believe we have not seen the peak in quits. 

Covid Shot Requirements

In addition to demographics, add a strong jobs market and resistance to Covid shots in the face of Biden and corporate mandates to the mix of explanations.

For discussion, please see White House Sets OSHA January 4 Deadline Requiring Shots or Tests

Also note This Didn't Take Long: Appeals Court Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate

While I expect the Supreme Court will strike OSHA, corporate mandates are another matter. I expect those to stick. 

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