Americans quit their jobs at a record pace in August

Americans quit their jobs at a record pace in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America’s employers are having trouble finding jobs clearly showed in a Tuesday report: Americans are leaving in large numbers.

The Labor Department said job losses rose to 4.3 million in August, the highest on record since December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. This equates to about 3% of the workforce. Recruitment also slowed in August, the report showed, and the number of available jobs fell to 10.4 million, from a record high of 11.1 million the previous month.

The data helps fill a puzzle that has been looming over the job market: Recruitment slowed sharply in August and September, even as the number of posted jobs was near record levels. Open jobs have increased by 62 per cent in the last one year. Still, as measured by Tuesday’s report, overall there has actually been a slight decline during that time.

The jump in quitting strongly suggests that fear of the delta variant is partly responsible for the labor shortage. In addition to giving up driving, many people who are probably out of work are not looking for, or taking jobs, for fear of illness.

As COVID-19 cases surged in August, job losses in restaurants and hotels rose from the previous month and other public-facing jobs such as retail and education increased. About 900,000 people lost jobs in restaurants, bars and hotels in August, a 21% increase from July. There was a 6% increase in layoffs by retail employees.

Yet industries such as manufacturing, construction, and transportation and warehousing have barely grown. In professional and vocational services, which include fields such as law, engineering and architecture, where most employees can work from home, leave was largely flat.

Read more: US employers vulnerable as Delta adds 194,000 jobs

Other factors also contributed to the jump in quits. With many employers desperate for workers and wages rising at a healthy pace, workers have the potential to demand higher wages, or go elsewhere to find it.

The August data is probably too early to show the impact of the vaccine mandate. President Joe Biden’s mandate was not announced until September 9. United Airlines announced its mandate in early August, but it was one of the first companies to do so. And layoffs were unchanged in August, the report found.

Job gains were weak for the second straight month in September, the government said on Friday, adding only 194,000 jobs, though the unemployment rate fell from 5.2% to 4.8%. Friday’s recruiting figure is a net total, after leaving, retirement and layoffs are taken into account. Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, includes raw data, and shows that total hiring in August fell sharply from 6.8 million in July to 6.3 million. happened.

Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in an email, the data is “highlighting the enormous problems facing businesses.” “Not enough people. Not enough equipment and/or parts. In the meantime, customers are waiting for their orders, or waiting for their orders to be placed. What a strange world this is.”

Quits also increased the most in the south and midwest, the government said, the two regions with the worst COVID outbreaks in August.

Watch: Biden comments on September jobs report

When workers leave a job, it is usually seen as a good sign for the job market, as people usually leave when they already have other positions or are confident that They can get one. The big increase in August probably reflects that confidence among workers.

But the fact that the rise in leaving was heavily concentrated in areas that involve close contact with the public is an indication that the fear of COVID also played a bigger role. Many people would have left their jobs without other jobs as well.

The sharp increase in job opportunities also has an international dimension: job vacancies in the United Kingdom have reached record levels, although this is partly because many European workers have left the UK after Brexit.