The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, pushing quit rates to 3 percent. In other words, it’s not just your imagination: the Great Resignation continues apace.
Unsurprisingly, healthcare and service industry jobs saw the biggest jumps in quitting. Healthcare workers have been vocal about the burnout and discouragement they’ve faced over the last few years, feeling helpless against the torrent of misinformation and vaccine skepticism that has flooded their hospitals with unnecessary sickness and death. Likewise, many service industry workers are finally saying “enough is enough” to rude customers and low wages.
CNN reports that transportation, warehousing and utilities workers also left in growing numbers. All told, America had about 10.6 million jobs open in November, a decline from the July peak of 11.1 million open jobs.
It’s still too early to say what all of this means, but some early speculation suggests that Americans are using the social safety net provided by the pandemic to explore other career options for more fulfilling jobs. COVID-19 exposed a lot of problems in our collective professional mindset, and with more of us working at home, there appears to be a reshuffling afoot of just what it means to have a career.
Where all this will end up is hard to say. Over the winter, there has been an enormous number of workers in different fields who have started protesting for better pay and working conditions, and it’s very possible that the record number of people quitting is part of the same movement — people who just want a little more from their job situation. Stay tuned.