More Workers Are Quitting Their Jobs, and It Is a Good Thing

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This is going to sound a bit counterintuitive on the surface, but there is some good news in the American jobs market: more Americans are quitting their jobs. The U.S. Labor Department has issued its delayed JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) report for September.

It turns out that fewer workers are leaving involuntarily, meaning fewer firings and layoffs. More workers are quitting their old jobs too. The reason this matters is that “quits” usually implies that a worker has left voluntarily. That generally translates into leaving one job for another. Translation: climbing the ladder!

September’s total JOLTS headline job openings were 3.913 million, versus a Bloomberg consensus estimate of 3.83 million and versus 3.883 million in August. Here are some of the government figures that were released:

  • 3.913 million job openings in September, versus 3.844 million in August
  • 4.585 million hires in September, versus 4.559 million in August
  • 4.426 million total separations in September, versus 4.405 million in August
  • The quits rate in September was little changed at 1.7% for total nonfarm, 2.0% for total private and 0.5% for government

For the 12 months ending in September 2013, hires totaled 52.7 million and separations totaled 50.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.9 million. So far this is good news. Unfortunately, it is not great news because the percentages are still very low.

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