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Record 4.5 Million Workers Quit in November

ADP reports soaring job growth in December

A woman carrying a paper bag in an office.

​The number of U.S. workers who quit their jobs reached a new high in November 2021, when 4.5 million people resigned. That's up from 4.2 million in October and continues a monthslong streak of historically elevated churn.

Quitting has been especially high in hospitality, health care and logistics, as well as low-wage sectors in general, where workers have been taking advantage of strong demand to look for jobs with better pay or working conditions.

Meanwhile, private job growth rose to its highest level in seven months, according to ADP. Employers added 807,000 jobs last month, well ahead of estimates and the November gain of 505,000.

"Workers continued to switch jobs in light of the many opportunities the current labor market provides, with the private sector quits rate hitting an all-time high of 3.4 percent," said Nick Bunker, director of research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. "The low-wage sectors directly impacted by the pandemic continued to be the source of much of the elevated quitting. Lots of quits means stronger worker bargaining power, which will likely feed into strong wage gains. Wage growth was very strong in 2021, and if we keep seeing the quits rate near 3 percent, we might see more of the same in 2022."

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

In High Demand

Employer demand remains high, resulting in more job openings, higher wages and more turnover. There were 10.6 million job openings posted on the last day of November, more than in any month before the pandemic began and far more than the roughly 7 million unemployed people looking for work.

Competition for workers has led to faster wage growth, particularly for those changing jobs. Hourly wages for job switchers were up 4.3 percent on average in November, compared to a 3.2 percent gain for people who stayed in their jobs.

(The New York Times)

Why Are Workers Leaving 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.

(SHRM Online)

How to Ride the Great Resignation Wave

How can HR professionals prepare for the expected surge of voluntary employee departures in 2022?

(SHRM Online)

State by State: Hires, Quits, Job Openings and Unemployment

These maps show the geography of the Great Resignation—where workers are quitting, getting hired and remaining unemployed, according to the latest data.

(SHRM Online)

How Historic Has the Great Resignation Been?

The Great Resignation continues along a historic path among all years of quits data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Through November 2021, an average of more than 3.9 million workers quit their jobs each month, meaning 2021 will hold the highest average on record, topping the 2019 average of 3.5 million.

(SHRM Online)


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