“It is, by many measures, the toughest market ever,” said Julia Pollack, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. “Employers have to play tug-of-war to get half an employee.”
The number of people leaving their jobs decreased slightly, by 151,000, in January. However, the number of resignations in the finance and insurance sector rose by 30,000, a sign that white-collar employees are looking for new opportunities as many offices press ahead with reopening plans.
The latest report comes after months of steady gains in the labor market. The US economy added a whopping 678,000 jobs in February, sending the unemployment rate down to an epidemic low of 3.8 percent, the Labor Department reported last week. As hiring strength increases, many Americans—particularly women and those over 55—who left the workforce early in the pandemic, are gradually starting to return.
However, the job opportunities – That increased by more than 55 percent from January 2021 – continues to outperform available staff. This has led to a situation in which workers increasingly have the upper hand, forcing companies to raise wages and introduce a host of new perks to attract and retain employees.
“We saw hiring, quitting and job postings rise in 2021 as the economy grew very quickly,” said Jay Berger, LinkedIn’s chief economist. “The labor market is very tight – even stricter than conventional measures like the unemployment rate might suggest.”
Finally, nearly 50 million Americans quit or changed jobs in the past year. Pollack says she expects the high rate of job cuts to continue in the coming months as more companies start asking workers to return in person. More than 60 percent of ZipRecruiter job seekers said they would prefer remote jobs.
“Flexibility and remote work are becoming more and more important,” she said. “We’re already seeing that when you’re asked to go back to the office, people rush to exits looking for opportunities that are completely out of the way.”
In Austin, Michael Cano quit his $15-an-hour customer service job in early January after instructing managers to return to the office. Kanu, who lives with his young granddaughter, says he did not feel safe working in a building without the requirement for masks at the time he was working. Corona Virus Cases were skyrocketing.
Within a week, he had started a higher-paying job as a dispatcher for the city of Austin. He earns about $20 an hour and has the option to work from home most days. When he has to show up, he’s one of the few people in the office.
“It’s absolutely perfect,” said the 42-year-old. “I’m so glad I quit.”
The booming economy, combined with a growing desire for work-life balance, has prompted millions to leave their jobs in search of better opportunities. But some who have quit work say finding a new job has not been as easy as they had hoped.
Britta Rudd, who lives in Marinette, Wisconsin, quit her finance job in January after months of working 50 to 60 hours a week with little support. She said the stress from work is becoming debilitating and affecting her health.
“I didn’t want to quit my job – I loved the company I worked for so much,” said Rudd, 31, who was an internal auditor. “But I was in a constant state of stress and couldn’t do that anymore.”
Rudd has applied for nearly 20 jobs since then, in banking and risk management, but has never received a response from any of them. She had been relying on savings to pay her, though she was worried she would run out of money by the end of the month.
“Part of the reason I quit my job is because you heard the market is very good right now, and anyone can go out and get a job,” she said. “But that wasn’t my experience.”
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