Fewer US Workers Quit Jobs in October, Job Openings Approach New High

The number of US workers quitting their jobs edged down in October after three months of record highs, according to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some 4.2 million people quit their jobs in October, down from 4.4 million in September and representing 2.8% of the workforce.

Quits decreased in several industries, according to the BLS. The largest decreases were in “transportation, warehousing, and utilities,” where quits fell by 57,000 from the previous month; “finance and insurance,” down by 45,000; and “arts, entertainment, and recreation,” where 33,000 fewer people quit than in the previous month.

Quits increased by 21,000 in “state and local government, excluding education” and by 6,000 in “mining and logging.”

However, the number of job openings increased by 431,000 to 11.0 million, which Forbes reported is just below a record high of nearly 11.1 million set in July.

Though jobs are “abundant,” analysts at Goldman Sachs have lowered their projections for labor force participation to just 61.9% by the end of the year and 62.1% at the end of next year — meaning the number of people working or looking for work should remain at 45-year lows, according to Forbes. Most of the 5 million people who have exited the labor force since the start of the pandemic are over the age of 55 and likely won’t ever return to work, due largely to early and natural retirements of about 1.5 million and 1 million, respectively.

Overall, the total number of separations — which comprises quits, layoffs, discharges and other separations — edged down by 255,000 to 5.9 million.

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