Willingness of People To Leave Their Jobs For New Opportunities Still A Problem

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According to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people who quit their jobs in April was up 8 percent compared to April 2012. That’s still not enough improvement, according to Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics, as quoted by Politico today:

“Turnover in the labor market remains down sharply relative to before the crisis,” he said.

Overall turnover was 3.2 percent in April, down from 3.7 percent in April 2007. While it is nice for workers that the level of layoffs are also down from the norm of 2003-2008, without retirements and people quitting, it reduces opportunities for job seekers.

Hiring in April was 3.3 percent, up .1 from a year ago, but still down from 3.8 percent on average on 2007.

Hiring in the Northeast is lower than any other region — 2.9 percent compared to 3 percent in the Midwest, 3.2 percent in the West and 3.6 percent in the South — but is up from 2.7 percent a year ago.

The quit rate in April was 1.7 percent, up from 1.6 percent a year ago, but was not up in the Northeast.

The quit rate in 2007 was 2.1 percent.

“If workers are not quitting voluntarily, employers have less reason to increase gross hiring,” Sullivan wrote. “It likely reflects lingering risk aversion after a severe financial crisis and recession; fewer people are willing to take a chance and quit without a job lined up, or even to start over at a new firm when there are new opportunities. From that perspective, a rising quit rate would be a good sign for the normalization of the labor market.”

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