On TV, in movies, and even sparingly in real life parents will cry to their children, “I didn’t raise you to be a quitter!” We are taught to persevere and see our tasks through, always. But this past September Americans quit their jobs at the quickest pace since early 2008, shortly after the Great Recession started. It may sound bad, but all of that quitting is actually great news for America and its economy.
It’s OK To Be A Quitter
The Great Recession brought with it a slew of layoffs and an increasing unemployment rate. People who were without a job were hard-pressed to find one, and as more people lost their jobs the competition for the few available grew tougher. The financial crisis still feels fresh, but there are signs that the US is finally on an upswing. If this were several years ago there is no way that two percent of American job-holders would have voluntarily left their work. But that’s what happened in September – 2.8 million workers quit, which is 10% more than had quit their jobs in August.
The fact that over two million people decided to freely leave their jobs strongly indicates that the market is improving. All of those workers were confident enough that if they left their jobs not only could they find other employment (if it wasn’t already promised to them), but they would find better employment. Now, their former companies will have to try and entice new talent to come forward and work for them, which will help with the wage gain stagnation. The median American income spent a decade declining and now remains steady without improvement as of last year. With so many people quitting, that means the people who are leaving are likely making more money, and the people who replace them will be, too, which will put more money back into the economy.
Getting The Market Back
There have been many encouraging signs that the market is coming back to a good place, from the decreasing percentage of our national unemployment to the steady amount of new jobs that have been created every month. Job growth spiked up sharply in November after having remained positive for 50 consecutive months, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since 1939. Then August had the lowest rate of unemployed workers per job opening since the recession started, at 2:1. The past two years, the number of people who have been fired from their jobs has neither dipped up or down, just remained stable. The 1.6 million layoffs and terminations that began during the recession are long-gone, and people are starting to move on.
The market still has a ways to go – it doesn’t help that wages have been in a rut with no real increase. But 10% more people quit their jobs in September than in August, and we haven’t seen those numbers since before the financial crisis occurred which is encouraging. It’s no surprise that September was the big month for quitting – according to the Labor Department, there were 4.84 million job openings in August, which was a 13-year high. September then followed almost as strong with 4.7 million job openings, marking 2014 as the best year for job creation in the United States since 1999.