One reason America’s employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday, October 12: Americans are quitting in droves. The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. Hiring also slowed in August, the report showed, and the number of jobs available fell to 10.4 million, from a record high of 11.1 million the previous month.
NEW – Record high 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August.
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 12, 2021
The data strongly suggests that the delta variant wreaked havoc on the job market in August. As COVID cases surged, quits jumped in restaurants and hotels and rose in other public-facing jobs, such as retail and education.
Quits also rose the most in the South and Midwest, the government said, the two regions with the worst COVID outbreaks in August.
When workers quit, it is typically seen as a good sign for the job market, because people typically leave jobs when they already have other positions or are confident they can find one.
But the fact that the increase in quits was heavily concentrated in sectors that involve close contact with the public is a sign that fear of COVID also played a large role. Many people may have quit even without other jobs to take.
Hiring in September was weak for a second straight month, the government said Friday, with only 194,000 jobs added, though the unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2%.