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Record Quits Continue in November, With Highest Turnover in Accommodation

  • A record high 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • The accommodation and food services industry saw the most disruption, with the largest increase in quits and the highest quits rate
  • Total job openings fell to 10.6 million

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The number of people quitting their jobs again hit a record high recently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The disruption was most evident in the accommodation and food services industry, which had the highest quits rate, the largest increase in quits, and the greatest drop in job openings.

A record 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November, up 370,000 from the previous month. The quits rate of 3 percent matched a record high first set in September.

The number of people quitting positions in the accommodation and food services industry rose by 159,000 to 920,000, while the industry’s quits rate stood at 6.9 percent – up from 5.7 percent in the previous month and 4.8 percent in November 2020. Job openings in the industry fell by 261,000 to 1.3 million.

  • There were 10.6 million job openings at the end of November, down 529,000 from October
  • In addition to accommodation and food services, industries with a significant drop in job openings included construction (down 110,000) and nondurable goods manufacturing (down 66,000); openings were up by 83,000 in finance and insurance and by 25,000 in the federal government
  • The number of hires remained relatively unchanged at 6.7 million, while separations rose to 6.3 million
  • After accommodation and food services, the largest number of quits occurred in health care and social assistance (52,000) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (33,000)
  • The quits rate was also elevated in retail trade (4.4 percent) and in trade, transportation, and utilities (3.6 percent)
  • In the 12 months leading up to November, hires totaled 74.5 million while separations totaled 68.7 million – a net employment gain of 5.9 million
  • Analysts suggest that the ongoing labor turmoil is driven in part by people seizing the opportunity to switch jobs, which typically offers more potential for higher wages and better working condition than staying in a position and seeking these benefits

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