​The number of U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs tapered off in October from a record high the previous month, while job openings remain elevated, pressuring employers to raise compensation for open positions and do more to attract talent.

Quitter's Market: Explore the Chart

The monthly Department of Labor (DOL) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, released today, shows that 4.2 million people quit their jobs in October. The number of workers quitting has risen each month since May.

The fall was driven in large part by a drop in the number of quits in the leisure and hospitality sector, said Nick Bunker, an economist and the director of research at the Indeed Hiring Lab in Washington, D.C. "The quits rate in those industries dropped by half a percentage point, signaling some easing in job hopping. In addition to the slowdown in wage growth in the sector seen in recent jobs reports, this trend suggests maybe the advantageous situation for workers in this sector might deteriorate in the months ahead if the current situation continues."

Quits fell in several industries, with the largest decreases in transportation, warehousing and utilities; finance and insurance; and arts, entertainment and recreation. Quits increased in state and local government.

Many factors have led to the historic quits levels, including the ongoing pandemic, new vaccine mandates and a strong candidate's market.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, shot up by over 400,000 to 11 million by the last day of October, setting a new record. Job vacancies increased most in accommodation and food services and in education.

Monthly job growth has averaged a solid 555,000 new jobs in 2021, but employment is still down by 3.9 million from its pre-pandemic level.

For more information on the Great Resignation, see SHRM's Resource Hub page on Turnover and Retention.


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