SAN DIEGO, Ca. — As workers continue to leave their jobs en masse, the phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation” seems to be far from over. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, quits totaled 4.5 million in November, a record high, and have been trending upward since April 2020. The quit rate—defined as the number of quits as a percentage of total employment—rose to 3.0 percent in November, tying September’s record.
Historically, job openings, hires and separations have tracked each other. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted this pattern. At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, total separations rose to a record 16.3 million as businesses across the country laid off workers and shut down. Separations were also high in April 2020 but then returned to more typical levels and have been trending upwards ever since. At the same time, job openings have been climbing rapidly, reaching near-record levels in October 2021 amidst widespread labor shortages.
As businesses across the country struggle to hire, workers continue to quit in droves. Both total quits and quit rates have been rising since the spring of 2020, causing quits to account for an increasingly large share of total separations. The pandemic has caused many workers to reassess their priorities and look for jobs that offer more flexibility as well as better pay and benefits. Fortunately for them, the current labor market puts workers in a good position to make headway on these goals. Job openings currently total 10.6 million, and with 6.9 million unemployed workers, there are about 1.5 jobs per every unemployed worker.
While quits tend to be higher in lower-paying sectors, quits have been rising across nearly every industry. The accommodation and food service industry, which includes restaurants, bars, and hotels, had the highest quit rate for 2021 at 5.7 percent. Additionally, the industry had the greatest increase in its quit rate from 2020 to 2021, at 1.5 percentage points. Government had the lowest quit rate in 2021, and is the only sector that saw a decline in its quit rate year over year.
Quit rates vary across the country due to factors such as local job market conditions, cost of living, and local industry makeup. To determine the states with the highest quit rates, researchers at ChamberOfCommerce.org analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The researchers ranked states according to the overall quit rate in 2021. Researchers also calculated the total quits in 2021, the percentage point change in the quit rate from 2020 to 2021, and quits as a percentage of total separations in 2021.
The analysis found that the overall quit rate in New York State reached 1.8 percent in 2021. Overall, New York State saw 1,581,000 quits last year. Out of all U.S. states, New York reported the lowest quit rate in 2021. Here is a summary of the data for New York State:
Overall quit rate (2021): 1.8 percent
Total quits (2021): 1,581,000
Percentage point change in quit rate (2020–2021): +0.3
Quits as a percentage of total separations (2021): 62.2 percent
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
Overall quit rate (2021): 3.0 percent
Total quits (2021): 43,093,000
Percentage point change in quit rate (2020–2021): -0.6
Quits as a percentage of total separations (2021): 68.3 percent
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on ChamberOfCommerce.org’s website: https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/states-with-the-highest-quit-rates/