• The number of Americans quitting has now exceeded pre-pandemic highs for eight straight months, as employers struggle to fill open positions.
  • One major driver of The Great Resignation appears to be that many workers are no longer willing to put up with the pay and/or working conditions they accepted before the pandemic.
  • The quit rate is particularly high in sectors with a large number of frontline workers, e.g. hospitality, health care and retail.

In the wake of the unprecedented jobs crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new trend emerged in the U.S. labor market throughout 2021, as millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs. According to the latest JOLTS report, the Great Resignation gained steam again in November, as a record number of 4.53 million Americans quit their jobs.

The number of Americans quitting has now exceeded pre-pandemic highs for eight straight months, as employers, especially in low-wage sectors, are struggling to fill open positions. The reasons for this trend are of course manifold, but one major driver appears to be that many workers are no longer willing to put up with the pay and/or working conditions they (perhaps grudgingly) accepted prior to the pandemic. “I certainly think that the pandemic has led many people to reevaluate their work and their priorities and what they want to do,” Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute said in a statement to Business Insider.

The fact that the quit rate under the Great Resignation is particularly high in sectors with a large number of frontline workers, e.g. hospitality, health care and retail, suggests that safety concerns also play a role in the worker exodus, while vaccine mandates have also contributed to the ongoing trend.

The Great Resignation in numbers

The great resignation in numbers
Number of people quitting their jobs in the United States
Image: Statista