February 29, 2024

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During the past year, the rate at which Americans quit their jobs has steadily declined from a record high back to pre-pandemic levels — seeming to spell the end of the labor market trend that came to be known as the “great resignation,” labor economists said.

The “quits rate” fell to 2.4% in April, down from 2.5% the month prior and from a 3% peak in April 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

This rate is the share of monthly quits (i.e., voluntary departures by workers) relative to total employment. It’s now roughly on par with the monthly pre-pandemic average between 2.3% and 2.4% in 2019.

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“I think the great resignation as we know it is over,” said Daniel Zhao, lead economist at career site Glassdoor.

“We are much closer to the labor market we had in 2019, which was hot but not overheating,” he added.

Workers enjoyed historic leverage amid Covid

Most workers who quit their jobs do so for new employment elsewhere. Quits, therefore, serve as a proxy for workers’ willingness or confidence in their ability to leave a job.

Quits started to surge in early 2021 as Covid-19 vaccines rolled out to the masses and the U.S. economy started to reopen.

Business’ demand for workers outstripped the supply of people looking for a job, giving workers an unprecedented amount of power in the labor market. Employers raised wages at the fastest pace in decades to compete for scarce talent.

U.S. consumer demand boosted by strong labor market, says IMF's Kristalina Georgieva

We are much closer to the labor market we had in 2019, which was hot but not overheating.

Daniel Zhao

lead economist at Glassdoor

In short, the labor market is returning to normal, and the balance of power has shifted, she said.

While workers are unlikely to be “handed jobs on a platter” anymore, conditions remain favorable for them, Pollak added.  

“There’s good normal and bad normal,” she said. “We’re still very much in the ‘good normal’ world.”

Conditions are still favorable for job seekers

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