/ Understanding the Great Resignation

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the Great Resignation, a term that is used to describe the ongoing trend of people quitting their jobs starting around the beginning of this year. People are talking about it because it’s a movement no one has really seen before.

Fortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shares a monthly survey of Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT), which can help shed a little light on the phenomenon. The agency provides all the data in text files, and the Domo CSV Advanced Connector can quickly pull in data on any SMTP or HTTP location. (Contrary to the connector’s name, it can extract files in other formats as well, including txt, gzip, and zip.)

The current data is updated with projections through September 2021. And with that data, we can begin to understand how many people are actually quitting their jobs.

To start with, we can look at the 35 million job quits year to date, which is an increase of more than 30% versus the prior year. We can also look by state (below) and see the largest percentage increase was in New Hampshire (53.8%):

There is also information by industry, which shows that the only industry showing a reduction in people quitting was state and local government, with a decrease of 14.6%. Every other industry saw an increase in people quitting in 2021 compared to the same months in 2020.

This data also led me to think about how the quitting relates to the number of layoffs (also reported in the JOLT data). The second chart shows that layoffs are down more than 60% since 2020, reflecting the bounce back from the start of the pandemic:

This is just the start of what can be learned from the JOLT survey, as it has data back to 2000 and includes metrics for layoffs, quits, hires, and job openings. The data explorer below lets you filter for a specific metric and look at some of the detailed history.

The explorer data will also continue to update in coming months. In fact, preliminary numbers for October 2021 came in the day before this post was put together, but the state-level data was not yet available for the charts above, which are filtered for January through September 2021 only.

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