Record 4.3 Million Workers Quit Their Jobs in Aug., Sept. Jobs Fall Way Short

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A record of 4.3 million workers walked away from their jobs in August, particularly restaurant, bar and retail employees who quit in droves, while September fell way short at adding jobs; Plus, where the job openings are.

Workers quit jobs at record pace in August

Led by workers in bars and restaurants, as well as retail employees, 4.3 million workers, a record number, voluntarily walked off the job in August. The last time workers quit in similar numbers was back in December 2000, also hitting 4.3 million, CNBC reported.

Food service lost 892,000 workers, retail lost 721,000 workers, while health care and social assistance lost 534,000 workers.

Historically, the number of job quits occurs when there is a high level of confidence among workers in finding employment elsewhere.

However, amid the pandemic, the rise is due to health concerns, vaccine mandates, and childcare issues rather than moving to better opportunities.

August job openings way below expectations

even though people quit their jobs in record numbers in August, the number of job openings for the month fell way below expectations. The forecast had anticipated 720,000 job openings, but nonfarm payrolls only increased by 235,000 jobs in August.

However, the unemployment rate in August fell in line with estimates at 5.2% and wages rose 4.3% year-over-year, CNBC reported in early September.

September jobs openings fall way short of expectations

The Dow Jones estimated 500,000 job openings for September. But those expectations fell deeply short, with nonfarm payrolls increased only by 194,000 for the month. Most openings were in leisure and hospitality, retail, as well as professional and business services, CNBC reported this week, the Labor Department statistics released on Friday.

Unemployment dropped for the second month in a row, down to 4.8%, which bested analysts’ expectations of 5.1% and the lowest rate since February 2020.

Where are the jobs?

The demand for jobs is highest in leisure and hospitality, followed by professional and business services, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information rounding out the top five. The next highest openings are in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, healthcare and social assistance, mining and logging, and financial activities rounding out the bottom, according to CNBC, citing stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There was a noticeable drop in available government job openings in September, where public school districts often hire teachers, bus drivers, administrators and other staff, but that did not happen in 2020 as it normally does. Seasonal K-12 employment fell by 144,000, according to an economist from the Economic Policy Institute. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed -123,000 government job openings in September.