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In total, 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August, hitting a high in a data series that goes as far back as December 2020. That number is 242,000 higher than it was in the month of July. The quits rate increased to a new high of 2.9%. Employers, meanwhile, laid of 1.3 million workers in August.
The quitters were led by those in the food service and accommodation industries. Of those workers, 892,000 left their jobs, followed by 721,000 retail workers and 534,000 health care and social assistance workers.
Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs,” said the report. It is notable that the highest number of people left the food service industry, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as has retail. It is also notable that so many health care workers quit their jobs as Delta variant cases have risen.
The Labor Department’s report also indicated that hiring slowed down in August. Open jobs totaled only 10.4 million, falling from July’s record high of 11.1 million.