U.S. workers quit jobs at record levels: Study

Yahoo Finance’s Denitsa Tsekova breaks down why U.S. workers are quitting their jobs at record levels amid the pandemic.

Video transcript

- we move farther and farther back into normal territory here coming out of the pandemic, there has been one interesting trend that caught a lot of attention at least here. And that is that workers are quitting their jobs at historic rates. And it could continue here as we move farther along, people get more comfortable with the return to normal. For more on that, I want to bring in Yahoo Finance's Denitsa Tsekova here with the details. And Denitsa, when we look at it, it is something I guess, that maybe people had just been chilling in their job during the pandemic with so many unknowns. But now, if you're going to make a move, you might as well do it now.

DENITSA TSEKOVA: Exactly. This seems to be the time where a lot of people are making that decision to make that move. Some of it may be a delayed move, and there are also other reasons. But the number we had in April is the 20-year high. So the highest number we've ever had on April on record. This is 2.7%.

And what we're hearing is that this may be just the start. We may see even higher numbers during the autumn and during the summer, and who knows? Maybe even after that. So as we say, delayed quits are a big thing. A lot of people were maybe thinking of quitting their jobs before the pandemic, during the pandemic.

Obviously, this was a very difficult time to quit your job. And now things are reopening and public health situation is much better. So a lot of people are finally making that decision that maybe they were delaying.

Another thing is the labor market is tighter. There are more job openings, better wages. So workers just have more bargaining power. They have better choice. And this may be a driver.

And there are many other small drivers that are also contributing to that decision. A lot of workers are burnt out. We saw record high levels of burnout during the pandemic. A lot of workers moved during the pandemic, and they just don't want to go back to their offices. And they're just looking for more flexible work opportunities that they may get if they quit their jobs.

And going back to those April numbers, we really have two sectors with the biggest increase. These are accommodation and food services and retail and trades. Well, those two sectors, they're relatively low wage sectors. And they're also exposed to a lot of in-person contact, making them a little bit more difficult during the pandemic compared to other sectors. And those sectors have a rapid range in job openings as the economy re-opens.

- Denitsa, we've heard-- Denitsa, we've heard a lot about flexibility, pay, as well as benefits sort of being key drivers, not just for people that quit, but that attract people to these new job openings. I mean, to what extent are we likely to see this rate accelerate going into the summer or going into the fall?

DENITSA TSEKOVA: Exactly. Yeah, that has been a factor so far. But it's really, we're just seeing it being one of the major factors. So many workers relocated during the pandemic. They built new homes. And we have data saying that 1 in 4 pandemic home buyers would choose staying at their new home if they're required to return to work. So obviously, if the labor market remains as tight as now and obviously recovers even more and workers have more bargaining power, they may choose to stay at a work that offers them more flexibility, rather than return to their office and just stay in their new home.

- Yeah. And there's a lot of opportunities out there. We continue to talk about other-- even in the restaurant space. More restaurants offering higher wages across the board to attract talent. A shortage across the board as well.

We'll see how it all shapes up. But a lot of people are quitting out there. Now's the time to do it. Denitsa Sekova, appreciate you taking the time here to chat with us today.

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