Future of Work

Why are Americans still quitting their jobs?

The number of Americans quitting jobs has exceeded the pre-pandemic high for 17 straight months.

The number of Americans quitting jobs has exceeded the pre-pandemic high for 17 straight months. Image: Unsplash/Johnny Cohen.

Felix Richter
Data Journalist, Statista
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Future of Work

  • The Great Resignation saw tens of millions of Americans quit their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In July 2022, the number of Americans quitting jobs declined for the fourth consecutive month.
  • But at 4.18 million, the number of Americans leaving their jobs still remains historically high.
  • The pandemic has led many to re-evaluate their priorities, expectations of working conditions and pay, says a senior economist.

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 tens of millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs. According to the latest JOLTS report, the “Great Resignation” lost some steam in July 2022, as the seasonally adjusted number of Americans quitting jobs declined for the fourth consecutive month. At 4.18 million, the number of Americans leaving their jobs remained historically high, though, while the number of job openings hovered at an equally high level of over 11 million last month.

The number of people quitting jobs has now exceeded the pre-pandemic high for 17 straight months, as more than 4 million Americans left their jobs in 15 of the past 17 months. Meanwhile employers, especially in low-wage sectors, are still 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.

This chart shows the number of people quitting jobs in the United States.
At 4.18 million, the number of Americans quitting jobs remained historically high. Image: Statista
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