Workers Quit at Record Rate in August; Job Openings Slip

Job openings in August slipped from July’s high while the rate of workers quitting their jobs reached a record level, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of job openings fell 5.9% in August compared to July — a month with a record level of openings — but remained up 61.8% compared to August 2020.

Industries with the largest month-over-month decreases in job openings were “healthcare and social assistance” with a decline of 224,000 and “accommodation and food services” with a decline of 178,000.

The BLS noted the number and rate of total separations — where a worker leaves a job either voluntarily or through a layoff or discharge — were little changed in August from July. However, the agency noted the quits rate — the measurement of workers who leave jobs voluntarily — reached a record high of 2.9% in August, with 4.3 million people quitting their jobs. The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness to leave their jobs.

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