New data released by the Department of Labor shows how labor dynamics have shifted in recent months. In August, 4.3 million workers left their jobs, a rate that rose to 2.9%. That was an increase of 242,000 from the previous month, which saw a rate of 2.7%.
Traditionally, job quits are seen as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though the COVID-19 crisis played a large part in the trend.
The pandemic is continuing to affect labor dynamics as health concerns and child care issues weighed into workers' decisions.
892,000 food service and accommodation industry workers left their jobs, while 721,000 retail workers along with 534,000 health care and social assistance workers called it quits.
This phenomenon occurred at the same time as employment vacancies fell to 10.44 million during August, a drop of 659,000 from July’s upwardly revised 11.1 million, according to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, (JOLTS).
“As job openings and hires fell in August, the quits rate hit a new series high, surging along with the rise in Covid cases and likely growing concerns about working in the continuing pandemic,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.