A new Labor Department survey showed 4.3 million American workers quit their jobs in August, accounting for nearly 3 percent of the total workforce. The number is up from 4 million in July and the highest since December 2000.
About 892,000 employees in restaurant, bar, or hotel jobs accounted for the bulk of job quits. An estimated 721,000 left retail positions, and 534,000 quit healthcare or social assistance jobs.
Why are employees leaving? The report does not cite reasons, but economists suggest the August exodus was connected to a surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus.
Normally, high quitting rates indicate a healthy job market because workers believe they can find a better position elsewhere. However, most of the job quits were from positions involving public-facing work in the South and the Midwest, where delta infections were the worst in August.
Because hiring rates and the number of jobs available also slowed, some employees may have left their workplaces without the option of finding a better job.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.