During the COVID War in 2021, 47.7 million people quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most since the bureau began tracking the number in 2001.
A year later, another 50.5 million workers had given their notice.
Some left to care for children or elderly parents, start their own businesses, or seek their bliss; others found jobs and pay scales they liked better.
Now, after two years of raging inflation, 10 consecutive interest hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and a rising number of layoffs, people are holding tight to the jobs they have, economists are finding.
“The great resignation, by really any measure, is over” and has “moved into the window of history,” Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University professor and labor economist, told Bloomberg.
In April, 49,0000 fewer people quit their jobs compared to March, the U.S. labor department reported. The “quits rate” has been diminishing since spring 2022 and is now only 0.1 percent greater than February 2020 just before the COVID era began, the department noted.
Massive layoffs in the tech and financial industries have left workers skittish, as have the disappearance of iconic retail businesses such as Bed Bath & Beyond, David’s Bridal, and Tupperware.
“That all plays into a fearful narrative that employees buy into,” Jessica Kriegel, a workplace culture consultant, said to Bloomberg. “The fact that quit rates are down indicates that there’s low confidence in the job market.”
However, the jobs market remains tight and employers are concerned about holding onto their workers: U.S. wages continue to grow, adding 6 percent last month, year on year.
Job postings have shrunk dramatically in human resources, marketing, and software engineering, with job website Indeed reporting 16 percent fewer listings overall now than a year ago.
“There’s definitely a broad-based pullback, but there’s been a much sharper pullback for positions that tend to be more traditional office jobs and jobs that have been more likely to be remote for the last few years,” Indeed economist Nick Bunker said in a Bloomberg interview.
Customer contact jobs in retail and similar industries are still going begging, he added.
TREND FORECAST: While there will be continuing job growth in the summer months as people vacation and spend more to have a good time, the effects of higher interest rates will hit consumers and we forecast there will be declines in both job creation and consumer spending in September and October.