The number and percentage of U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs reached an all-time high in September, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.
Roughly 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September and the “quits rate” rose to 3 percent, according to the latest edition of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey, each a new record. The number of job openings stayed roughly even in August at 10.4 million.
The surge in American workers voluntarily leaving their jobs is the latest sign of growing worker power in the recovering labor market.
Economists see quits as a window into how willing workers are to leave their current job in search of another role with higher compensation or greater personal fulfillment.
Wages have risen rapidly through 2021, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, as businesses struggle to fill millions of jobs. Both the percentage and number of working-age adults in the labor force are still well below pre-pandemic levels, giving those currently seeking jobs greater leverage and opportunities.
“The rise of quitting across the labor market is remarkable, but the concentration among a few sectors is eye-popping. Quits are up the most in sectors where most work is in-person or relatively low paying,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.