Why are Americans choosing to quit their jobs in record numbers? (2023)


The United States is seeing its highest “quit rate” since the government started keeping track two decades ago. Bill Whitaker speaks with employers who are scrambling to find help and people who left their jobs and aren’t looking back.

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We've all seen signs in front of shops, restaurants and factories, we're hiring help wanted.

And now the omicron variant is taking a toll on the already depleted workforce.

We've wondered how there can be so many open jobs.

When nearly every employer seems to be offering better, pay benefits and even signing bonuses.

The government's jobs report released this past week tells us what has happened.

Well over 20 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021, some are calling it the big quit others, the great resignation.

But who can explain why this is happening bill whitaker reports.

He found the best place to look for real-time answers is the huge online job site linkedin, which calls itself the world's largest professional network.

The story will continue in a moment.

People have been living to work for a very long time.

And I think the pandemic brought that moment of reflection for everyone.

What do I want to do what makes my heart sing? And people are thinking if not now then when karen kimbrough is linkedin's chief economist, she has degrees from stanford and harvard and a phd.

From oxford used to work for the federal reserve.

And now has a bird's eye view of the u.s labor market.

We have this unique view of the data.

We can see across millions of members and what they share with us.

And we can see from employers millions of them that are posting jobs on our platform.

There is one person hired every 15 seconds right now on linkedin.

But linkedin's data on who is leaving jobs is most compelling millions of baby boomers, retiring early, but also millions of gen.

Z workers people in their teens and early twenties, many more women than men in all the highest quit rate since the government started keeping track two decades ago at the nationwide level, the number of americans quitting, their job is higher than ever higher than ever higher than ever do the data.

Tell you why we can see what sectors people are quitting, retail, sectors and hospitality sectors.

It may not just be worth it for some folks.

And so in some cases, people are quitting and they're, not yet, returning they're, taking a break americans are burnt out.

I like to think of it as a take this job and shove it measure it's just a sign of people saying, you know, I don't need this I'm out I'm out.

The most recent data show people quitting jobs across the board, 4.4 percent of all positions in education are open over 6 percent in retail and more than 8 percent in health care, open jobs in hotels and restaurants are nearly nine percent that's almost a million and a half vacant positions.

We do have openings, and we do need more employees.

Carl sobosinski owns several restaurants in greenville, south carolina.

He needs workers both in the kitchen and out front waiting tables.

What's the biggest challenge in attracting them and keeping the employees it's a problem that they're just not out there where we are.

We just don't have the workers out there looking for the jobs construction is another sector without enough workers at last count.

There were nearly 350 thousand open construction jobs, nationwide you're, finding it more difficult to find people right now.

Absolutely across the board across the board.

James jordan owns a fast-growing construction company in greenville.

We doubled our revenue year over year.

We don't have a work problem at all now it's, just a matter of finding the individuals to be able to do form the work it's, not a work problem.

It's, a worker problem, it's, a worker problem.

We came to greenville south carolina after seeing it on a linkedin data map, showing trends of geographic migration, lots of workers leaving big cities like san francisco and chicago and lots of workers moving to places like austin and miami and greenville that's.

Another big sign of this job market.

People are moving a lot of people are just opting because of affordable housing costs to choose more affordable places, smaller cities.

They give you more space will feel safer, um, and people are willing to try something new for what you'd pay to rent an apartment in san francisco.

You can buy a nice house in greenville.

It has attracted big employers like bmw and michelin, but also tries to nurture small businesses and startups.

Still you see all the same help wanted signs on greenville's main street as you would in any big city, many people believe that generous government stimulus and unemployment benefits are really what's keeping so many workers on the sidelines, no matter where they live.

The quick answer people say, is we're, still providing too many benefits and too many people can sit at home and and get a check.

I personally disagree with that our associates that didn't come back they're, not sitting at home.

They found other careers.

Other opportunities that fit their lifestyle better.

What we saw was that when these benefits were turned off when workers were no longer getting the benefits, they did not rush back to work.

What does that tell you that tells me that it's not just a function of the benefits that's, not the only thing that's going on in the heads of workers when they make that calculus about should I go back? Will I go back and for what job so is all of this producing a fundamental shift in the balance of power between employers and employees it's as if that social contract of work is being rewritten and right now, the worker is holding the pen.

There are just thousands upon thousands of available jobs in america right now and companies are eager to hire, but workers are being very choosy.

So employees are kind of in the driver's seat employees are in the driver's seat.

Right now workers want better pay and benefits, of course, but they're also demanding autonomy and flexibility, particularly in their work schedules and employers large and small simply have to respond.

I think flexibility is critical.

This is the employee's demand the employees they want flexibility.

And if you're an employer that won't that won't work with your employees to to be flexible with them, then you're going to be you're missing out.

I mean, you have to so is, it the case that gone are the days where an employer would say you're just lucky to have this job.

I think so I think so, and I think it's for the better, james jordan's construction company will pay an employee's tuition if they want to continue their education, perfect timing, come on in and their moving expenses.

If they relocate and like so many employers he's offering signing bonuses and flexible hours to new hires.

I understand there was one young man, one young recruit that you called every day for two months.

I did you really wanted this young man.

I did.

I did.

Did you finally get him? I finally got him.

He started last week monday, what a stunning turnaround from the spring of 2020, when the pandemic essentially shut the economy down, we had never seen anything like it when you lose 22 million jobs in just two months and it's unthinkable.

Kimbrough remembers that working mothers were and still are among those hardest hit as the pandemic robbed them of many of their child care options.

What we're seeing now is actually a really great story of resilience because we're seeing more and more women come back into the workforce, we're still missing a few million women by the way in the workforce.

We're, not fully there, still missing a few million women, um, but we're, seeing them come back and predominantly the women that we're missing are parents of young children.

They were hit the hardest.

I just decided to leave.

I had nowhere to go.

I had no hopes for employment.

Luckily, my husband was gainfully employed, and I was able to do that.

But I just walked away.

Melissa williams walked away from a marketing job in greenville in early 2021.

When the pandemic hit, she was balancing marriage motherhood and her career, you know, you're part of a trend.

Yes, there's like a fundamental great resignation people who are saying and doing what you did.

I I can do better than this.

This isn't.

This isn't fun.

This isn't me, like you said, I hit a wall, and I was done was that difficult? I mean, it was, it was very scary, because I have I've been employed since I was 17 years old.

I remember going home after I put in my resignation.

And and I just sat there on the couch, and I was like what did I just do? I just quit my job.

I have no job to go to we have bills.

We have a child.

We have responsibilities and my husband's like do you want to go for a walk? I was like I don't have anything else to do.

So we went for a walk.

It is challenging to go say, I'm, a go out on my own in general.

It really does take some work, but people want to have control kenzie biggins moved to greenville in 2017.

A few years after she founded works b, which pairs remote assistance with executives and companies that need administrative help.

You find executive assistants all over the country.

And you team them up with executives and companies also all over the country.


So one can be in greenville and an executive can be in chicago.

Yeah, it's.

All about the best pairing for you kenzie had the idea for workspeed years before the pandemic made such arrangements common.

You were ahead of the curve, and then the curve caught up.

Let me just say this.

I got a lot of crazy looks for a very long time.

You know, walking into places and saying you should have a virtual executive assistant.

People looked at me like I had five heads.

They were like what pandemic hits and all of a sudden you're a genius.

We went from closing three to four people a month to closing 10 to 18 people per month, which is quite the jump in trying to get people paired.

And bringing in new eas, americans have really taken a liking to remote work, they're two and a half times as likely to apply to a job that's remote versus a job, that's, not remote how's that different from pre-pandemic.

So pre-pandemic, I think one in every 67 jobs was a remote job.

And now and now it's, one in seven one in seven one in seven jobs is remote now it's a huge huge huge rise in mo.

And I think what it is is that companies have realized that if they want to attract candidates, they kind of need to meet them where they are.

Now works be found me at the most opportune time.

Two months after quitting, her office job.

Melissa started with work speed.

The churn rate is finally showing in stripe so hallelujah, she's now, an executive assistant for three organizations you're working for three different bosses from home.

All virtually, yes, it sounds like you could be just as busy as you were before.

I am I am just as busy.

The difference is it's my choice.

Now you have a fourth job.

I do I do.

I am also an english instructor at greenville technical college works be and the ability to design your work.

Life does that make it possible for you to now.

Enjoy? What seems to be your passion, absolutely to teach english? Absolutely if it had not been for works b, I would have never been able to even give this a shot.

The pendulum of power may soon swing back toward employers, especially as workers who've quit their jobs deplete their savings, but karen kimbrough expects employees to cling to the flexibility.

They've fought for, I think actually that this trend towards having more flexibility could be permanent.

I honestly can say I don't see myself going back to an office ever ever ever honestly.

There is no office that could offer me what I have in my house, it's, not possible.


Why are many Americans quitting their jobs? ›

At the onset of the Great Resignation in Spring 2021, the most cited reason among respondents in the McKinsey survey for why they quit their jobs is feeling uncared for by managers and tense relationships with colleagues.

Why are so many people quitting at record numbers? ›

While millions of workers left jobs for cash incentives, better pay or better benefits, people also left the labor market to care for children or elderly relatives during the pandemic.

Why are most people quitting their jobs? ›

Unhealthy, unsupportive work environments are the top culprit, The Muse found. Some 34% of respondents said they felt driven to search for a new job because of their employer's toxic workplace culture. Just over a quarter also pointed to inadequate flexibility by management or lackluster work-from-home policies.

Are people still quitting their jobs in record numbers? ›

About 50.5 million people quit their jobs in 2022, besting the prior record set in 2021, according to the federal JOLTS report. The pandemic-era trend of elevated voluntary departures came to be known as the Great Resignation. Most people quit to take new jobs, not to leave the workforce altogether.

Why are people leaving jobs 2023? ›

Among the 18.5 percent of workers who responded that they have plans to leave their current job in 2023, 6.6 percent reported the primary reason for their plans to depart is they are seeking work that is fully remote, with 5.9 percent of Americans noting that they are primarily seeking work that is hybrid.

What percentage of people regret leaving their job? ›

A recent survey showed that 80 percent of Great Resignation quitters regret their decision. Though many people left for better work-life balance and mental health, only about half of respondents were satisfied with these things in their new roles.

Why are millions of workers quitting? ›

Many workers quit due to Covid-19 safety concerns or because their companies didn't provide adequate remote-work support. Millions more left for more autonomy or meaning in their work; many of these shifts linked to lockdown reflection. And others quit for more money elsewhere, as the labour market tightened.

Why are 4.5 million people quitting their jobs? ›

Many factors have led to the record-breaking number of people quitting, including ongoing health concerns, a desire for more flexibility and workers switching jobs to take advantage of the strong candidate's market.

What is a record number of Americans quitting? ›

Turnover remains historically high as 4.5 million people quit their jobs in March, up from 4.35 million people, or 2.9% of workers, who quit in February. Quits are at record highs in leisure and hospitality, construction and manufacturing.

Are 40% of workers considering quitting? ›

It's still quitting time.

In fact, 40 percent of workers McKinsey recently surveyed say they're thinking about leaving their positions in the next three to six months. That widespread disgruntlement is the same as 2021 levels.

What age group is the Great Resignation? ›

First and foremost, the employee demographics most affected by the Great Resignation are those between 18-29 (37% quit their jobs in 2021) and those with lower incomes (24% quit their jobs).

What jobs have the highest quitting rate? ›

10 jobs workers are most likely to quit in 2023
Median pay in 2022Rate at which workers are looking for new jobs
Production manager for manufacturing$77K48%
Public relations specialist$57K59%
Medical coding specialist$46K52%
Human resources assistant$41K55%
6 more rows
Jan 4, 2023

What is soft quitting? ›

Quiet quitting doesn't actually refer to quitting a job—it means completing one's minimum work requirements without going above and beyond or bringing work home after hours. Jeremy Salvucci.

How can people afford to live without working? ›

The only way to make a living without a job is to generate passive income. You can't just charge everything to a credit card. Passive income is money you generate without having to consistently work for it. It typically involves making an upfront investment in the form of time or labor.

Why do people quiet quit? ›

So, the simple answer to why people are “quiet quitting” is their desire to avoid high stress and burnout by taking work/life balance into their own hands.

Which generation quits the most? ›

Gen Z workers, aged between 18 and 26, make up about 35% of those wanting to quit, while millennials (aged 27 to 42) are another 31%. The common reason cited by 44% of the workers considering quitting their jobs is overwork.

Do 70 percent of US workers plan to leave their jobs in 2023? ›

In a recent LinkedIn study, almost 70% of Gen Z and millennial Americans stated they planned to leave their jobs in 2023. And with unemployment at a low 3.4% with many jobs left over, all signs seem to point to this fact: American workers are fed up.

How bad will layoffs be in 2023? ›

If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can contact us here. The running total of layoffs for 2023 based on full months to date is 201,860, according to Layoffs.fyi. Tech layoffs conducted to date this year currently exceed the total number of tech layoffs in 2022, according to the data in the tracker.

What is the most regretted job? ›

5 Most Regretted Jobs
  • Cashier. First on the list and with an average yearly pay of $18,600, 46% of cashiers say they regret their job. ...
  • Mechanic. 43% of mechanics say they regret their job. ...
  • Secondary School Teacher. ...
  • Delivery Driver. ...
  • Bank Teller.

Do most people get fired in their lifetime? ›

40% of people are fired from a job in their lifetime.

But the percentage of people who get fired is higher than you'd think. So don't feel bad if you've been terminated from a job in the past, because our research shows that: 40% of Americans have been fired from a job.

How long do people stay at a job they hate? ›

From the survey, 20% of millennial and Gen Z jobseekers said they'd quit a job within a month or less if it turned out differently than what was advertised, 41% would give it two to six months, and 15% would give it seven to 11 months. Just 24% would try to stick out a bad job for a year or more before moving on.

Which percent of Americans chose to go back to work after retiring? ›

Among adults ages 65 to 74, the workforce participation rate was 25.8% in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That share is expected to grow to 30.7% by 2031.

How long will great resignation last? ›

Professor who coined 'great resignation': Quits will plateau in 2023.

What is the quit rate in the US economy? ›

US Quits Rate: Total Nonfarm is at 2.40%, compared to 2.50% last month and 3.00% last year. This is higher than the long term average of 2.01%.

Are there now a record 5 million more job openings than unemployed people in the US? ›

There were 10.8 million job openings on the last business day of January 2023, while the number of unemployed was 5.7 million in January. This yielded a ratio of unemployed people to job openings of 0.5 for January.

How many Americans quit their jobs in July? ›

The U.S. economy reached just over 4 million quits in July and hasn't stopped since.

What was the highest quit rate in US history? ›

Flashback: At the height of the Great Resignation, the overall quits rate most recently peaked at 3% in April 2022, when there were roughly 4.5 million quits in a single month. Turnover of that magnitude had never been seen before — at least not since the Labor Department started collecting the data in 2000.

How many people quit in the first 90 days? ›

28% of New Hires Quit in the First 90 Days: Here's How to Stop It.

Are Americans still saying I quit in near record numbers? ›

Americans are still saying 'I quit' in near-record numbers, showing that the Forever Resignation is sticking around. Over 4 million Americans have quit every month for 11 months straight in the Great Resignation. The trend didn't slow in April 2022, the latest month the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for.

Are 73 of employees considering leaving their jobs? ›

2. 73% of Employees Are Considering Leaving Their Jobs. According to a 2021 study, 73 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs for the right offer, even if they wouldn't be looking for a job at the moment.

Who is most likely to quit a job due to burnout? ›

Women are also more likely to say they quit their jobs because of stress or burnout than men (39 per cent vs. 25 per cent), and are also more likely to think of quitting their jobs at least occasionally than men (38 per cent vs. 30 per cent).

How do managers feel when you quit? ›

The best-case scenario—and honestly, the most common reaction—is that your boss will accept your resignation with understanding and sincere congratulations. Your manager will be happy to see that you're advancing your career and moving on to something bigger and better.

What month do most people quit? ›

July is often a peak month for employee turnover. Learn why employees leave and how to retain them. July is often a peak month for employee turnover, with many long-standing workers choosing to jump ship at this time.

Why resignation is better than termination? ›

When negotiating the terms of your resignation, you may be entitled to certain benefits, such as health insurance for a period of time. Another benefit to resigning is you won't have to explain to future employers why you were terminated. Resigning from a job allows you to frame your departure in a positive manner.

Who is most affected by the Great Resignation? ›

According to LinkedIn, the largest numbers of people leaving the workforce include millions of baby boomers who are taking early retirement and millions of Gen Zers (young people in their teens and early 20s).

What job has the least burnout? ›

  • 14 Low-Stress Jobs.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Dietitian.
  • Medical Records Technician.
  • Massage Therapist.
  • Appliance Repairer.
  • Librarian.
  • Diagnostic Medical Stenographer.

What 5 jobs have the highest unemployment rate? ›

According to latest data released from May 2023, transportation and material moving occupations experienced the highest level of unemployment that month, with a rate of around 5.6 percent. Second ranked was farming, fishing, and forestry occupations with a rate of 4.9 percent. Total (not seasonally adjusted)

What is the new type of quitting? ›

Quiet quitting is the latest workplace buzzword. Although it sounds like it refers to someone resigning from their position, it describes a rebellion against the hustle culture of going above and beyond what a job requires.

Why are so many Millennials quitting their jobs? ›

The main reasons Gen Zers and millennials are considering switching jobs haven't changed, with higher compensation, improved work-life balance, opportunities for career growth and flexible work arrangements all ranking as top priorities, per LinkedIn's research.

Why are so many Americans not working? ›

Many companies had to downsize or close, millions retired early, and the average employee sought more freedom and flexibility in their working schedules. All of this resulted in a lower labor force participation rate where less Americans were working.

What generation is leaving the workforce? ›

Employees are still quitting in droves, and Gen Z is leading the wave, according to research by LinkedIn. The social media giant surveyed 2,000 adults in the US and found that 61% of them were considering changing jobs in 2023 – this rose to 72% for Gen Z workers.

What is the new quiet quitting? ›

'Quiet hiring' is the new workplace trend of 2023. The term "quiet quitting" went viral last year, describing people who stay in their jobs but mentally take a step back -- for example, working the bare minimum and not making their job the center of their lives.

Is resignation worse than termination? ›

It's theoretically better for your reputation if you resign because it makes it look like the decision was yours and not your company's. However, if you leave voluntarily, you may not be entitled to the type of unemployment compensation you might be able to receive if you were fired.

What not to say when quitting? ›

"Don't use words like quitting or leaving when you tell your boss you're resigning, because they could make your boss feel like it's their fault you're vacating your position. Similarly, avoid phrases like “I've found a better opportunity” or “I've outgrown my position." Instead, let them down easy."

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