Economy

The State Where the Most People Are Quitting Their Jobs

The most recent State Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary is for August. Among the subjects the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report tracks are job openings, hire rates, layoffs and what its terms “quits.” These are people who leave jobs of their “own accord” and not because of layoffs. The report gives both the total number of people by state and as a percentage of total employment in each state.

The job market has been different in the past year than almost any year before it. Millions of job openings have gone unfilled. That number has risen into the hundreds of thousands in some larger states, based on population. This has caused an imbalance that has made it harder for companies to find people that they need to operate. CNBC recently pointed out, “Employers in the U.S. face an interesting challenge ahead – how to fill nearly 10 million job openings with about a million fewer workers than there are positions available.”

The BLS reports that quit rates rose in 14 states in August. The states with the highest figures were Georgia (35,000), Illinois (32,000) and Kentucky (26,000). The national total increased by 242,000.

Quit rates that show comparisons with the total employed population by state rose by 0.2% nationwide. The figure was much higher in several states. The highest level was Kentucky, where the rate rose 1.4 percentage points to 4.5%. It was followed by 4.2% in Georgia and 4.1% in Idaho.

While there is no uniform reason for high quit rates, one economist offered an opinion. Ben Ayers, a senior economist at Nationwide, commented on the long-term labor trend: “The downside is there are many workers that won’t come back in. And long term you can’t sustain a labor market that’s as tight as it is right now.”

Another consideration is that many people who have quit their jobs will never come back. Millions of people have retired permanently, in many cases because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is true, the labor imbalance could last a very long time.

Click here to see how many people are retiring in each state.