Record Number of Americans Resign in March
As many as 4.5 million Americans – that’s 3% of the workforce – quit their jobs during the month of March, with consumer-facing industries like food service and accommodation reporting the highest rate of openings.
This mass exodus or “Grand Resignation,” as some are calling it, drove nationwide job openings up to 11.5 million as employers continue to search for workers amid a post-pandemic labor shortage.
The employment phenomena has granted workers endless options and unforeseen negotiating power, and many Americans who quit in March left their jobs for higher-paying positions. According to federal data, job postings at companies with more than 5,000 employees have more than doubled since February of 2020.
“There is little sign of cooling in the greatest job seekers’ market of all time,” says ZipRecruiter economist Julia Pollak. “As businesses continue to face high turnover, and the gap between demand for labor and supply widens yet further, businesses will continue to experience upward pressure on wages.”
The US economy added 1.7 million jobs during Q1 2022 and the employment-to-population ratio for workers between the ages of 25 and 54 jumped from 70% (in April) to 80% (in March). Virtually nobody is being laid off.
Unfortunately for many of us, historic pay gains have been offset by rising inflation. If you factor in the rising cost of goods and services, average hourly earnings for March were actually down 2.7% YOY and 0.8% on a monthly basis. As reported by the Labor Department, March was the 8th consecutive month in which available jobs remained above 10 million. Before COVID, the highest number on record was 7.7 million.