The Great Resignation is giving way to the 'Big Stay' as job-hopping slows down

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The Great Resignation is giving way to the 'Big Stay' as job-hopping slows down
Allyson LaRocca, manager of The Berkshire Family Restaurant, carries orders of food to customers, on September 29, 2020.Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
  • March's quit rate was 2.5%, less than the 2.9% a year prior; and monthly job openings are shrinking.
  • It may be accurate to say the quitting situation is evolving into the "Big Stay," per ADP's chief economist.
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The Great Resignation is winding down, according to ADP's chief economist Nela Richardson.

Many people were happy to leave their jobs during the pandemic to explore new ones. Some were looking for better pay, while others were eager to start a business.

"The Big Quit of 2022 could be easing into the Big Stay of 2023," Richardson wrote in her recent commentary.

Americans started job-hopping in earnest in 2021 and stayed strong through 2022. Between June 2021 and December 2022, over 4 million Americans quit each month.

But the labor market has changed. The share of Americans quitting their jobs has broadly been declining, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The monthly job openings rate has also been sliding.

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"The days of a quits rate near 3% are behind us, or at least for the foreseeable future," Nick Bunker, the head of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, told Insider.

Richardson pointed out in her post that 2022 saw the largest job quits level on record at least since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking that data over two decades ago. While there's only three months of data available so far, quits in 2023 are much lower than they were in the first quarter of 2022.

"The great resignation, as it came to be known, was fueled by abundant job opportunities, labor shortages, and big pay increases for workers who quit one job to take another," Richardson wrote. "A year later, all three of these dynamics are abating, and the great resignation itself is looking like a thing of the past."

One reason could be that job-hopping isn't paying off like it used to, per ADP Pay Insights data. Richardson said the year-over-year percent increase in pay for job changers was "the lowest pace of growth since November 2021" in April.

However, 12-month moving average data from the Atlanta Fed's Wage Growth Tracker shows it seems to still be a good time to be a job switcher if you are looking to boost your pay, with less of a slowdown than the ADP data suggests. Job switchers see a median raise of 7.6%, compared to just 5.6% for workers who stay at the same job. That 12-month moving average of median growth has only cooled slightly from the 7.7% seen before that.

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Job-hopping is slowing down for remote workers but still strong for blue-collar work

Other economists have also pointed out to Insider how the Great Resignation seemed to be over for certain kinds of jobs.

"If you read about the Great Resignation on your computer while working from home in your pajamas, it's been over for a couple of months now," Aaron Terrazas, chief economist at Glassdoor, told Insider. "If you heard about it while on the frontlines as an in-person service worker or a skilled vocational tradesperson, it's still very real."

Terrazas doesn't think we are going to see the quits rate plummet as fast as it soared on the way up. However, he said "it wouldn't be surprising to see it dip below trend either."

Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, noted the level of quits in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector was higher in the first quarter of 2023 than the first quarter of 2022. However, quits tumbled by 23% in financial activities in this same period, she pointed out. Pollak said that "to the extent that there is a big stay, it is not taking place across the economy."

The "Big Stay" that Richardson described could have different implications for employers, employees, and job seekers.

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"As demand for workers continues to fade, employees will be less willing and able to leave their old jobs," Bunker said. "At the same time, the diminished demand will result in lower pay gains for workers switching their jobs. Employers will see this as a positive as they will have to worry less about retaining current employees."

Workers may still want to switch jobs, but it's becoming less common

To be sure, not everyone is staying put or will stick around in their job. People may resign if they feel like they're not making as much as they should be. One person shared with Insider's Juliana Kaplan how she gave notice after being required to return to the office full time.

People may also be interested in getting a new job because they aren't happy. A report from The Conference Board highlighting its Consumer Confidence Survey from November stated that "overall job satisfaction is 3.6 percentage points higher among those who have found a new job since the pandemic began, compared to those who have not."

"Most people will recognize that it's never a good time to stay in a bad role, and post-pandemic, there's a general sense that employees have less tolerance for unhealthy workplace cultures," Terrazas said. "We know that dissatisfied employees have wandering eyes, and it's all the easier for them to pursue those opportunities now as remote interviewing has become commonplace in many industries."

Even if the Great Resignation might not be prevalent in all areas of the economy right now, it could emerge again.

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"Employers who are not keenly attuned to the quickly shifting sands of the market, could unexpectedly find themselves reliving the Great Resignation the minute the market turns," Terrazas said.

Pollak noted that while quits have fallen, the rate remains higher than before the pandemic. Given that, she suggested some alternate slogans for the current jobs market, such as "The Great Rebalancing" or "The Labor Market's Settling Down Period."

Did you decide to stay in a job after thinking about quitting or have you quit your job? Reach out to this reporter at mhoff@insider.com.

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