In the wake of the unprecedented jobs crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, a new trend emerged in the U.S. labor market in 2021, as tens of millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs. According to the latest JOLTS report, the “Great Resignation” is still going on, as 4.2 million Americans left their jobs in November, bringing the total for 2022 to 46.6 million.
The number of quits has now exceeded the pre-pandemic high for 21 consecutive months, as more than 4 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in each of the past 18 months. Meanwhile employers, especially in low-wage sectors, are still struggling to fill open positions. The reasons for this trend are of course manifold, but one major driver appears to be that many workers are no longer willing to put up with the pay and/or working conditions they (perhaps grudgingly) accepted prior to the pandemic. “I certainly think that the pandemic has led many people to reevaluate their work and their priorities and what they want to do,” Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute said in a statement to Business Insider.
Another reason is that the high number of job openings has shifted the balance of power in favor of workers, who have the chance to get paid significantly more by changing jobs as opposed to staying at their old employer.