Americans are quitting their jobs in near-record numbers, according to the latest data released by the US Department of Labor, with over four million leaving their places of employment in October.
Approximately 4.2 million people quit their jobs in the month of October, the third highest number on record to do so. The number is down from September's record-setting 4.4 million workers voluntarily walking away from their jobs either with a new job lined up or with confidence they will find replacement employment soon.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, released Wednesday, there were 11 million jobs on the market in October. Most openings were in the accommodation and food service industries, two sectors suffering particularly from staffing issues coupled with record inflation and supply chain issues affecting running costs.
Industries hit by issues in the market have been seeing turnover rates similar to the national average as well, with 6% of workers in the accommodation and food industries quitting in October. In retail, approximately 4% quit their jobs.
Some experts have pointed to the high number of people leaving their jobs willingly as a positive sign for the economy, as it shows confidence in the job market and people being incentivized to work. Others, however, argue inflation issues offset other benefits workers would typically receive.
The latest stats also follow a disappointing jobs report last week, showing that only 210,000 jobs were added in November, far less than the half million some economists were predicting.
The current unemployment rate in the US stands at 4.2%, according to the Labor Department. By comparison, in February 2020, before numerous markets were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 3.5%.