More workers quit jobs than ever

More workers quit jobs than ever

World News

The number of Americans quitting their jobs is the highest on record, as workers take advantage of strong employer demand to pursue better opportunities.

More than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That was up from 4.2 million in October and was the most in the two decades that the government has been keeping track.

The surge in quitting in recent months — along with the continuing difficulty reported by employers in filling openings — underscores the strange, contradictory moment facing the US economy after two years of pandemic-induced disruptions.

Job turnover has been concentrated in hospitality and other low-wage sectors, where intense competition for employees has given workers the leverage to seek better pay.

For some workers, the rush to reopen the economy has created a rare opportunity to demand better pay and working conditions. But for those who can’t change jobs as easily, or who are in sectors where demand isn’t as strong, pay gains have been more modest, and have been overwhelmed by faster inflation.

The stubborn nature of the pandemic itself contributed to the problems, upending spending patterns and keeping workers on the sidelines.

Despite the demand for workers and the pay increases landed by some, Americans are pessimistic about the economy. Only 21% of adults said their finances were better off than a year ago, according to a survey released Tuesday — down from 26% when the question was asked a year earlier, even though, by most measures, the economy had improved during that period. The survey was conducted last month for The New York Times by Momentive, the online research firm formerly known as SurveyMonkey.

Inflation appears to be a big reason for people’s dark outlook. Most respondents in the Momentive survey said inflation had not yet had a major effect on their finances. But nearly 9 in 10 said they were at least “somewhat concerned” about inflation, and 6 in 10 said they were “very concerned.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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