The Great Resignation: Is It Over? | Automation Personnel Services


“The Great Resignation” could be coming to and an end, as U.S. workers quit their jobs at the lowest rate in more than three years, according to new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Just under 3.5 people quit their jobs in November 2023 (the latest month quit data is available), the lowest point since September 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As reported by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the quits rate measures workers voluntarily leaving their jobs as a share of total employment. The drop in the number of people quitting could be a sign that “The Great Resignation” is coming to an end, largely driven by a tightening job market. 

Job vacancies fell to 8.7 million in November 2023, as compared to 10.7 million in November 2023, a drop of 18.7% in just 12 months. Even though open positions are more than 6.3 million unemployed Americans looking for jobs, experts say employed workers are being cautious about resigning. 

“Fewer workers are quitting their jobs because fewer employers are hiring,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. “Quits are a very reliable measure of how much opportunity there is in the labor market.”

“The hiring rate has steadily declined from 4.6 percent in November 2021 to 3.5 percent in November 2023,” Pollak said. “That’s well below the average 2019 rate of 3.9 percent. In fact, it’s the lowest rate since 2014.”

Another factor contributing to the drop in the quits rate is slowing wage growth. As employers plan on offering smaller wage increases in 2024, more Americans are staying in their jobs. Budgets for salary increases are expected to rise by 3.8% in 2024, compared to a 4.1% increase in 2023, according to advisory firm Mercer.

“The Great Resignation” phenomenon took root in early 2021 and peaked between November 2021 and April 2022 with an average of 4.5 million people quitting their jobs per month, according to an article by Felix Richter recently on the Statista website

However, quit rates are now back to pre-pandemic levels as employed Americans weigh their options in a cooling economy and continued worries of a looming economic recession.

“In 2022, more than 50 million Americans took part in ‘the Great Resignation’, as workers were confident to find better pay or better career opportunities elsewhere in a red hot labor market,” Richter said. “Lurking recession fears have also played their part in convincing more workers to stay put rather than to risk being unemployed at the wrong time.”

Key Data

• Job vacancies fell to 8.7 million in November 2023, as compared to 10.7 million in November 2022.

• The hiring rate fell to 3.9% in November 2023, the lowest rate since 2014.

• Experts predict that resignation rates will continue to drop in 2024.

For companies struggling to meet production deadlines and quotas while keeping their labor costs low, contact your local Automation Personnel Services branch and learn how we can assist your company address your staffing needs today.

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