Around 4 million workers quit their jobs earlier this year.
According to the latest statistics released by the US Department of Labor, approximately 4 million workers quit their jobs in the month of April. This is a new 20-year high for most voluntary job quits. Rather fittingly, April also saw a 20-year high for job vacancies.
The Labor Department’s statistics show that companies around the country were advertising a total of 9.3 million job openings by the end of April, a 12% rise over March. The largest losses of labor seemed to occur in retail, food service, and accommodation, and to a lesser extent, teaching, mining, and logging.
“The worker shortage is real — and it’s getting worse by the day,” Suzanne Clark, the president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “The worker shortage is a national economic emergency, and it poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America’s great resurgence,” she said.
4 million Americans quit their jobs in April — a 20-year record. Many of them worked in the retail sector, which is in the middle of a massive labor shortage. https://t.co/u0EVO5LPRs
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) June 9, 2021
Despite the vaccination efforts reopening many customer-facing retail businesses, the lengthy lockdown period has subtly changed the face of the job market. Many retail and fast food chains have reported shortages in labor in recent weeks; back in April and May, appearances of signs with messages to the effect of “nobody wants to work anymore” at fast food locations went viral. These locations were allegedly short-staffed because employees had been quitting or refusing to come in to work. The severe working conditions in these kinds of businesses brought about by the pandemic has caused many workers to reevaluate their careers and seek higher pay and better benefits.
“By the time you get down to that lowly stay-at-home mom that just wanted a part-time job — who is earning less than a hundred dollars a week because she’s making $7.25 an hour and only working 10 hours a week — it’s not worth it,” an anonymous Dollar General employee told Business Insider.