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Americans switched jobs at near-record rates in February: 4.4 MILLION people quit


Americans switched jobs at near-record rates in February: 4.4 MILLION people quit while firms hired 6.7M and reported 11.3M openings as the ‘Great Resignation’ continues

  • Job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell 17,000 to 11.3 million in February
  • About 4.4 million people quit their jobs in February, close to the record high
  • Most people quitting in the ‘Great Resignation’ are leaving for better jobs
  • Companies continued to struggle to find scarce workers in tight labor market 

Job turnover remained near record highs last month as as companies continued to struggle to find scarce workers and millions quit seeking better opportunities.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell 17,000 to 11.266 million on the last day of February, the Labor Department said in a new report on Tuesday.

Despite the second straight month of a slight decline, job openings were not too far from the record high of 11.448 million set in December.

The data suggest companies were still desperate to hire workers last month, yet had trouble finding enough people to fill their open jobs. 

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell 17,000 to 11.266 million on the last day of February, but remained near the record high set in November

A 'now hiring' sign on the window of a Rotisserie Chicken restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland

A ‘now hiring’ sign on the window of a Rotisserie Chicken restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland

About 4.4 million people quit their jobs in February, the government’s report said, down slightly from a record of 4.5 million in November. 

Still, far more Americans are leaving their jobs than before the pandemic, a trend known as the ‘Great Resignation’ and a positive sign for workers, because most people who quit are leaving for a better-paying job. 

The new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, found that the number of people quitting jobs decreased in finance and insurance declined 30,000 from January.

But voluntary resignations increased across most other categories, and the overall quits rate jumped to 2.9 percent, up from January and close to November’s record high of 3 percent. 

The quits rate increased in large establishments with 1,000 to 4,999 employees.

Quits increased in retail trade (+74,000); durable goods manufacturing (+22,000); and state and local government education (+14,000). 

Pedestrians walk past a Now Hiring sign in Arlington, Virginia, on March 16, 2022

Pedestrians walk past a Now Hiring sign in Arlington, Virginia, on March 16, 2022

Geographically, the quits rate was little changed from the prior month across the four regions measured by the Labor Department. 

The major US stock indexes rose in midday trading on Tuesday amid signs that talks to end the war in Ukraine are making progress. 

The Federal Reserve has already announced a 0.25 percent hike of its key benchmark interest rate and is prepared to continue raising rates.

Wall Street is also reviewing the latest economic updates this week. U.S. consumer confidence bounced back in March, according to a report from business research group The Conference Board.

The Commerce Department will release its February report for personal income and spending on Thursday and the Labor Department will release its employment report for March on Friday. 

Economists predict that Friday’s report will show employers added 475,000 jobs in March. 

That would be down from the 678,000 jobs added in February as the omicron variant of the coronavirus faded and more Americans ventured out to spend at restaurants, shops and hotels. 

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in February, its lowest level since before the pandemic erupted two years ago. 

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