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Record Number of American Workers Quit Their Jobs, Signaling Labor Market Squeeze The Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released Nov. 12, showed that 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September, a record high.

By The Epoch Times Edited by Charles Muselli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A record number of American workers quit their jobs as of the last business day of September, in a sign of continued labor market tightness that is upping pressure on businesses to boost wages to attract and retain staff.

The Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released Nov. 12, showed that 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September, a record high. The so-called quits rate, which reflects worker confidence in being able to find a better job, rose to a record high of 3.0 percent, with the voluntary separations data painting a picture of labor market tightness and growing pricing power of workers.

"As result of many changes caused by the pandemic, many employers will need to continue to consider raising wages and improving working conditions, such as providing more flexibility, as they attempt to attract and retain workers," Bankrate Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

"This remains an opportune time for people to look for employment while demand for workers remains high. For many employers, the struggle continues," Hamrick added.

The Labor Department's quits data comes as businesses continue to report difficulties attracting workers, boosting wages, and offering perks to bring in badly needed staff.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said in a Nov. 9 report that a net 44 percent of small-business owners reported boosting wages to attract and retain staff, the highest reading in the 48-year history of the series.

"One of the biggest problems for small businesses is the lack of workers for unfilled positions and inventory shortages, which will continue to be a problem during the holiday season," NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement.

Average hourly earnings rose 4.9 percent in the year through October, the Labor Department said in a Nov. 10 release (pdf). Still, with over-the-year consumer price inflation in October running at 6.2 percent—the highest rate in 31 years—wages actually contracted by 1.3 percent in real terms.

Friday's JOLTS report also showed that the number of job openings on the last business day in September was 10.4 million, essentially unchanged from the prior month's level. While that's down from July's record high of 11.1 million, it's a historically elevated figure that reinforces the view that willing workers are harder to come by.

By comparison, the official number of unemployed people in the United States was 7.4 million in October, the Labor Department said in a recent release (pdf).

"But this comparison leaves some things to be desired given that another 4.4 million were working part-time but wanted full-time work and yet another 6 million wanted a job but were not in the labor force, or not looking for work," Hamrick said.

The unemployment rate edged down in October by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.6 percent. At the same time, U.S. employers added 531,000 jobs in October, the largest gain in three months.

By Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'

The Epoch Times, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Manhattan, New York, with a mission to provide independent and accurate information free of political bias or corporate influence. The organization was established in response to censorship within China and a lack of global awareness regarding the Chinese regime's repression of the spiritual practice Falun Gong.

The Epoch Times is a widely read newspaper that is distributed in 33 countries and is available in 21 languages. The publication has been critical in providing balanced and detailed reporting on major global events such as the 2003 SARS pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis. Notably, the organization has played a key role in exposing corruption inside China.

Aside from its human rights coverage, The Epoch Times has made significant contributions in a variety of fields. It has received praise for its in-depth analysis and expert perspectives on business, the economy and U.S. politics. The newspaper has also received praise for its broad coverage of these topics.

A series of editorials titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" appeared in The Epoch Times in 2004. It asserts that freedom and prosperity in China can only be achieved by eliminating the Communist Party, which violated China's cultural and spiritual values. In addition, the organization led the Tuidang movement, which resulted in over 400 million Chinese citizens quitting the Communist Party. In spite of this, 90% of websites referring to the "Nine Commentaries" were blocked by the Chinese regime.

The Epoch Times has been at the forefront of investigating high-level corruption cases within the Chinese regime, with its reporters taking significant risks to uncover these stories. The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism.

The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism. For more, visit www.theepochtimes.com.

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