Mainstream economic commentators and the Biden administration had hoped that August marked the turning point for America’s labor force problems. A then-record number of Americans quit their jobs that month, 4.3 million in total. The experts were optimistic that the labor market under the Biden administration had settled down after the COVID-19 pandemic. Then came September.
A new record was set in September as 4.4 million workers left their current positions. The number stands as a continuing warning that the gulf between the number of available jobs and people looking for work will continue to stifle the economy’s growth.
The industries seeing the most workers leaving jobs include retail, professional services, hospitality, and restaurants. Workers in accommodation and food services quit at a massive 6.6 percent rate.
The South saw 3.3 percent of workers quit, the West 3.1 percent, and the Midwest 3.0 percent. A lower rate of 2.2 percent of Northeast workers quit their jobs. Overall about 3 percent of the total American workforce quit their jobs in the month.
Economic experts continue to blame a combination of factors for the vast numbers of Americans leaving their jobs. They cite child care and the unpredictability of K-12 in-person education as significant factors involved in employment decisions.
It appears that many Americans have decided that their existing jobs in low-paying industries like food services are no longer worth the effort. It comes even as businesses offer increased wages and other benefits to attract and retain employees. Older workers are more likely to opt for earlier retirements this year.
The employment website ZipRecruiter reports that 55 percent of the people looking for jobs on their site are interested in working from home. Of the people looking for at-home employment, 50 percent said that workplace safety and 35 percent said that child care or family concerns were leading their decision to seek a job they could do from home.
The pandemic and the federal government’s economic policies have led to an upheaval of the American labor force, and the disruption caused in industries of all types may take years to sort out.