Workers left their jobs at a record pace in August, with bar and restaurant employees, as well as retail staff, quitting in droves, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

Quits hit a new series high going back to December 2000, as 4.3 million workers left their jobs. The quits rate rose to 2.9%, an increase of 242,000 from the previous month, which saw a rate of 2.7%, according to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The rate, which is measured against total employment, is the highest in a data series that goes back to December 2000.

Quits have been seen historically as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though labor dynamics have changed during the Covid-19 crisis. Workers have left their jobs because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.


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A total of 892,000 workers in the foodservice and accommodation industries left their jobs, while 721,000 retail workers departed along with 534,000 in health care and social assistance.

“As job openings and hires fell in August, the quits rate hit a new series high, surging along with the rise in Covid cases and likely growing concerns about working in the continuing pandemic,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. READ MORE

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