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
- The trend didn't slow in April 2022, the latest month the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for.
In April 2022, 4.4 million Americans put in their resignation letters, according to the latest data release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Preliminary data for April shows there were about 25,000 fewer
"When you have a higher level of openings, you also tend to have a higher level of quits as well because workers have more opportunities to actually go out and find a job that is a better fit for them," Zhao said. "So in the context of very high openings right now, the Great Resignation is actually not that unusual."
April was the 11th month in a row that over 4 million Americans have thrown in the towel. It also marks a year since the country first notched a new record-breaking quits rate, which was quickly bested when quits reached a series high in November 2021 — showing that workers quitting in droves was far from just a reaction to early pandemic conditions.
April also showed just how much businesses want to hold onto their workers: Layoffs and discharges reached a new record low. Just 1.2 million people were laid off or discharged in April, a rate of 0.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"From the turnover data, we can see people still have a large amount of confidence, as they're quitting jobs, but there's also a large amount of security as layoff rates are very low," Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, told Insider.
Of course, the new report shows numbers through April and don't completely reflect the current labor market. A series of recent high-profile layoffs have shaken the tech industry amidst concerns over a recession, although Zhao said the labor market is "still healthy" based on today's report.
"I think there's also the possibility that what's happening for a few tech firms isn't representative or emblematic of what's happening for the whole labor market," Bunker said.
But, even so, the data shows that employers for the most part want to keep their workers, and they won't voluntarily let them go. At the same time, 2.9% of the workforce quit.
It could signal that employers are adapting to their new reality: Their workers can — and will — leave, and there's not much they can do about it. Insider's Aki Ito reported that employers may be staring down a Forever Resignation. Research firm Gartner found that high turnover will probably stick around, with voluntary turnover rising by almost 20% more than the average pre-pandemic.
There is one measure that has reliably lured workers in: Raising wages, especially with inflation still roaring. A Pew Research Center study found that over half of the Americans who quit in 2021 and took new roles were making more money.
"The last year's really shown how much strong demand for workers — how much a tight hot labor market — can really empower workers," Bunker said.
Julia Pollak, ZipRecruiter's chief economist, told Insider that one reason people may be quitting is because they are searching for remote work positions, a work model that has become particularly popular during the pandemic.
"So you have people moving from industries where remote work has not become the norm, where it can't really expand because of the nature of the industry," Pollak said, for example.
For employers who are struggling to keep workers around during the Great Resignation and labor shortage, they can try improving their benefits, according to Zhao.
"I would say that the first tool in the toolbox for employers is to raise wages and benefits," Zhao said. "That can mean quite simply just increasing pay overall or offering a bonus or expanding and experimenting with new benefits, like tuition reimbursement, for example, that's one that has become more popular over the last few years."
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