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Teachers Are Quitting at Record Rates and Companies Are Hot to Hire Them

A teacher exodus is worsening a nationwide teacher shortage.
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Educational Services Quits Percentage Change, Chart St. Louis Fed, Annotations by Mish

Educational Services Quits Percentage Change, Chart St. Louis Fed, Annotations by Mish

Teachers Quitting at Record Rates

The Wall Street Journal reports Teachers Are Quitting, and Companies Are Hot to Hire Them

Burned out teachers are leaving the classroom for jobs in the private sector, where talent-hungry companies are hiring them—and often boosting their pay—to work in sales, software, healthcare and training, among other fields.

The rate of people quitting jobs in education rose more than in any other industry in 2021, according to federal data. Many of those are teachers exhausted from toggling between online and classroom teaching, shifting Covid-19 protocols and dealing with challenging students, parents and administrators. Teachers started leaving classrooms in 2020 when the pandemic upended education and child care, and the number of educators who quit accelerated in 2021, with nearly 550,000 people resigning from their school jobs between January and November, federal data shows. According to LinkedIn, the share of teachers on the site who left for a new career increased by 62% last year.

The exodus is worsening a nationwide teacher shortage and proving a boon to hiring managers in industries such as IT services and consulting, hospitals and software development. Teachers’ ability to absorb and transmit information quickly, manage stress and multitask are high-demand skills, recruiters and careers coaches say. Classroom instructors are landing sales roles and jobs as instructional coaches, software engineers and behavioral health technicians, according to LinkedIn.

Understanding the Data   

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics labor turnover data runs through November.
  • FRED, the St. Louis Fed data repository, does not have all the BLS data.
  • The BLS lumps some categories together in ways that make disaggregating the data difficult.

The lead chart shows year-over-year percentage numbers but not totals.

Educational Services Quits Not Seasonally Adjusted

Educational Services Quits in Thousands, Not Seasonally Adjusted 

Educational Services Quits in Thousands, Not Seasonally Adjusted 

It's hard to look at the above chart and make any sense of it. Teaching is hugely cyclical due to summer recess. Unfortunately, FRED does not provide seasonally-adjusted data for education in isolation. 

Education and Health Care Services Quits 

Education and Health Care Services Seasonally Adjusted, Chart St. Louis Fed, Annotations by Mish

Education and Health Care Services Seasonally Adjusted, Chart St. Louis Fed, Annotations by Mish

FRED does not offer Education Quits on a seasonally-adjusted basis but does offer a combined Education and Health Care Services Seasonally Adjusted.

The vast majority of those quits are in Health Services.

Jobs Openings Labor and Turnover (JOLTs) 

The BLS JOLTs report does provide seasonally-adjusted "separation data" for Education, but that does not break out Quits. 

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Separations Seasonally Adjusted 

  • Education and Health Care: 836,000
  • Health Care:  746,000
  • Education: 90,000

There is no available data for Education or Health Care Services, either separation or quits, on an individual basis that is seasonally adjusted. 

Yet, the BLS provides that data in monthly reports. I will contact the BLS and FRED because something is amiss.

There is one other thing we can do: Total unadjusted data January-November for 2021 and compare to prior years.

Education Quits Yearly Totals Through November

Education quits yearly totals, data from BLS via FRED, chart by Mish

Education quits yearly totals, data from BLS via FRED, chart by Mish

There was a huge 16.9% spike in education quits. Yet, the actual quit level in 2021 is below that of 2018 and 2019. 

Thus, quit rates are a misleading stat. One needs to look at actual quit levels now vs pre-pandemic levels. 

That said, school administrators were likely unprepared for this jump. 

Moreover, it's likely the best and brightest teachers who are jumping ship, making the quits rate surge a double whammy.

This post originated at MishTalk.Com

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