A Record Number of Workers Have Quit Their Jobs, Empowered By New Leverage

A record number of people have quit their jobs, inspired by a combination of factors that include ample opportunities elsewhere and better pay.

In August, about 2.9% of the workforce, or 4.3 million people walked out on their employers. Those numbers are up from April when about 4 million quit.

The phenomenon is being fueled by workers who are less willing to put up with inconvenient hours and poor wages, and are willing to seek better opportunities. The trend is a reflection of how the pandemic has jolted workers to an awareness about how their jobs fit into their lives.

According to new data released on Tuesday by the Department of Labor, there were 10.4 million job openings at the end of August, giving workers enormous leverage as they seek a better fit.

The shift could be long-lasting, as both workers and employers reassess their needs in the middle of an evolving public health threat.

Some businesses have found success meeting their challenges by increasing compensation, while many workers are finding they need training for new careers instead of putting up with low pay or long commutes.

The August data from the Department of Labor of Those Who Quit

  •  892,000 workers in restaurants, bars and hotels
  •  721,000 workers in retail
  • 706,000 employees in professional business services
  •  534,000 workers in health care and social assistance 

Many Republicans in red states thought the issue was federal unemployment assistance, but since those benefits were curbed this summer there has been little ground gained. In September, only 194,000 jobs were added despite the number of job openings.

Washington Post