A record 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their job in November, signaling that many Americans continue to have faith in the job market — and also signaling that the job market is working towards recovery. According to the Labor Department, Americans continue to leave their jobs in mass amounts as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Since the pandemic first began in 2020, Americans have changed their career paths, become self-employed, or retired in great waves.
As many people voluntarily quit their jobs, job openings have also skyrocketed. The Labor Department also revealed that there were about 10.6 million job openings in November. While this has fallen from the record 11.1 million job openings recorded in October, openings are still at record highs.
Hiring, meanwhile, continues to slowly increase with each new month. However, Americans aren’t flocking to reenter the workforce as economists first thought they would. Existing pandemic concerns and other factors have kept many from returning to the workforce in mass amounts. The number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs and retiring has also impacted hirings and job openings.
While it may appear that this many people leaving their jobs would be a negative thing, economists actually view this as a positive factor. As people willingly leave their jobs, there is a belief that they will quickly find another job. This means that American workers have faith in the labor market, which is a good thing.
Economists also believe that this amount of people voluntarily leaving their jobs will slow down in the new year. While a mass amount has quit in the past few months, signs are pointing to people continuing to leave their jobs, but at a much slower rate. Of course, this could always change, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing and fluid.
Many signs continue to point to the labor market’s full recovery. The Labor Department recently revealed that the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2%, which many economists consider to be full employment. While there are still a mass amount of job openings, and while people are still unemployed, it does appear as if these issues may continue to work themselves out.
Job hires do continue to grow slowly, which is helping the labor market recover. However, the country is still about 3.9 million jobs lower than what it stood at before the pandemic began. These workers may continue to slowly return to the workforce in the coming months, or in the coming year.
Of course, economists are keeping a close eye on factors that could negatively affect the labor market’s growth. The ongoing supply chain problems, as well as the highly contagious Omicron variant, are two of the most worrisome factors economists are watching. The Omicron variant could significantly affect business activity and hirings, which could in turn negatively impact the labor market as a whole. The global supply chain could also negatively impact how businesses run, especially if the Omicron variant slows down the already slow global supply chain.