The numbers: Some 4.35 million workers quit in February — most to take better jobs — in a sign the U.S. labor market is still the tightest it’s been in decades. Employees have more leverage over employers and they are taking advantage of it.
The number of people quitting topped 4 million last June for the first time ever. And it’s now happened nine months in a row, part of a pandemic-era trend that’s become known as “The Great Resignation.”
Before the pandemic, the number of people quitting jobs averaged fewer than 3 million a month.
Most who quit are finding new jobs and not leaving the labor force entirely, however.
U.S. job openings fell slightly to 11.27 million in February, the Labor Department said Tuesday, but remained near a record high. There’s almost two open jobs for every unemployed person.
Big picture: The economy has a huge number of open jobs and layoffs are at record lows, giving workers the opportunity to find better or better-paying jobs. Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades.
Many companies are trying to hire as fast as they can because of strong demand for their goods and services, but they complain they still can’t find enough workers. The ongoing labor shortage is exacerbating high U.S. inflation and making it harder for businesses to keep production going at full tilt.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
rose sharply in Tuesday trades on hopes of the Russia-Ukraine conflict easing.