Workers left their jobs at a record pace in August, with bar and restaurant employees as well as retail staff quitting in droves, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
Quits hit a new series high going back to December 2000, as 4.3 million workers left their jobs. The quits rate rose to 2.9%, an increase of 242,000 from the previous month, which saw a rate of 2.7%, according to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The rate, which is measured against total employment, is the highest in a data series that goes back to December 2000.
Quits have been seen historically as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though labor dynamics have changed during Covid-19 crisis. Workers have left their jobs because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.
A total of 892,000 workers in the food service and accommodation industries left their jobs, while 721,000 retail workers departed along with 534,000 in health care and social assistance.