The Great Resignation Breaks Records as 4.5 Million People Quit Their Jobs in a Single Month

·3 min read
Money; Getty Images
Money; Getty Images

Thinking about leaving your job to get a better gig? You’re not alone.

New estimates from the government show a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November amid the ongoing “Great Resignation.” They were well-positioned to make the leap: At the end of that month, the United States had 10.6 million job openings.

The figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which released its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday. (The reports lag a few months behind.) November’s cache of open roles was slightly down from October, when the U.S. had 11 million job openings, but still elevated from pre-pandemic levels.

The number of quits was a “series high” for the report, which dates back decades. The quit rate, which the BLS notes “can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs,” was 3%. That matches the quit rate from September 2021 — also a series high.

Industries most plagued by quits in November included accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

“The large rise in quitting remains concentrated in leisure and hospitality and retail trade, lower-wage sectors directly affected by the pandemic,” Indeed economist Nick Bunker tweeted Tuesday.

Granted, this was all before the Omicron variant of the coronavirus took hold of the U.S. in December. Economist Diane Swonk told the Wall Street Journal labor market participation could plunge if Omicron leads to another wave of school shutdowns that forces families to pause work as they take care of their kids.

Still, as of the last business day of November, the country was flush with opportunity. The federal government, finance and the insurance industry had the largest increases in job openings.

If you’re on the hunt, Money has plenty of tips for getting a career glow-up in 2022.

In fact, you don’t even have to leave the house to find a new job. Side hustles have gone digital: Virtual assistants, pet nannies and play-to-earn gamers are among some of the hottest gigs available online today. And with the help of salary transparency laws — especially in Colorado — you can determine whether a job’s pay fits into your savings goals.

If the answer is no, and you ultimately decide to stay with your current employer, you may have leverage. Dropping the BLS numbers in conversation with your boss might strengthen your case for them to give you a raise or let you work from home forever.

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