More Americans leaving their jobs, in a good way
More Americans are choosing to leave the safety of their jobs for the promise of better opportunity elsewhere, which is more evidence that the labor market is continuing to improve, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.
On Thursday, the Labor Department released data showing the number of “separations” – people leaving their jobs for any reason – totaled 4.8 million for September, a post-recession high, and up from 4.5 million in August. Perhaps more importantly, data showing the number of “quits” – people voluntarily leaving their jobs – totaled 2.75 million for September, also a post-recession high, and up from 2.51 million in August. The last time that number was higher was April 2008, he said.
Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment remained below 300,000 for the ninth week in a row, consistent with the generally low level of non-voluntary separations, Hughes said. The number of jobless claims did rise slightly – by 12,000 — during the week of Nov. 8. And the number of job openings actually declined slightly in September, but they remain at a healthy post-recession level, Hughes said.
The number of quits is a sign of confidence in the labor market by workers, Hughes said.
“The idea is that as the economy strengthens, and workers get more confidence in their ability to find the new, better job, they leave their old job,” Hughes said.