Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.5 million Americans, or 3% of the entire workforce, quit their jobs in November of 2021.1
Although shocking at the time November was just another record-breaking month in a string of record-breaking months. Named "The Great Resignation" by many, this phenomenon can be seen across nearly all industries.
Historically, it's common to see a surge in worker resignations when the job market is tight, and there's a cornucopia of open positions. But what's happening now is unlike anything economists and pollsters have seen before.
As financial and employment experts continue to debate the root causes of this exodus from the workforce, it can be difficult to visualize the full scope of the Great Resignation. Here are some surprising facts that may help:
- 2.9 percent: the share of the nation's workforce that quit in August
- 4.8 percent: the U.S. unemployment rate in September, a pandemic low
- 309,000: women 20 and older who dropped out of the workforce in September
- 182,000: men who were added to the workforce in September
- 108,700: drop in the number of child-care workers in September versus February 2020
- 10.4 million: unfilled U.S. jobs (Labor Department)
- 51 percent: business owners who said they have jobs openings they can't fill2
- 48 percent: the share of America's working population actively looking for a job or watching for opportunities3
- 61.6 percent: labor participation rate in September, versus 63.3 percent in February 2020
- 4.3 million: jobs that have vanished with the pandemic-era decrease in labor participation4
- 22: number of economists out of 52, who predicted labor participation will never return to pre-pandemic levels5
- 40 percent: share of the 4.3 million people who quit in August from restaurant and hotel jobs6
- 930,500: drop-in restaurant and bar jobs in September versus February 20207
- 12.7 percent: increase in hourly pay at bars and restaurants in August versus February 20208
- 7.3 percent: increase in the price of restaurant meals in September versus February 20209
- 3.6 million: number of new retirees between February 2020 and June 202110
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