A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, with the percentage of workers who decided to leave their positions rising to 3%, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey released Friday.
The survey, covered by the Washington Post, shows the number of people who quit their jobs is up from last month’s previous record of 4.3 million, which was 2.9%. Before the pandemic, only 2.3% of U.S. workers quit their jobs in February of 2020.
CBS News reports that the number of unfilled jobs in October currently sits at 10.4 million.
“People are rethinking their work, and they are sitting on an unprecedented amount of savings — people feel very comfortable that they can find a new job, and that’s what we think of when we think of a strong labor market,” Liz Wilke, chief economist at Gusto, told CBS.
The new low, according to the Post, could be in response to a number of factors as COVID-19 cases were spiking in September. Some may have been rethinking their daily routines, while others likely found better openings, with a strong stock market giving some workers savings to fall back on even if they didn’t jump into a new position.
“There are likely some delta-induced quits here,” Daniel Zhao, an economist at Glassdoor, told the Post. “Workers are fed up with working conditions and feel unsafe and quitting even though they might not immediately jump into a new job.”
Wilke told CBS that the quit rate will likely remain high for the next few months, with wages being raised and more employers likely continuing a trend—noticed by Gusto—of hiring teenagers for positions.
“Teens have turned into a very strategic substitute for employers,” Wilke said. “They tend to have much lower expectations for wages, since they are fresh to the job market, and they are very, very flexible — they can work nights, they can work weekends.”
Inflation also saw its biggest monthly rise in 30 years, so workers may be looking to offset costs, CBS shares. But ultimately, the so-called “Great Resignation” is proving that workers’ priorities are changing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shares that the arts, entertainment and recreation, and the state and local government education industries are currently seeing the highest quit rates.