A record 4.5 million workers called it quits in November

Jan. 5, 2022

Workers across the US are calling it quits in record numbers. In November alone, a whopping 4.5 million workers left their jobs, per yesterday’s Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

  • The accommodations and food-service industries led the exodus, with ~1 million quits in the leisure and hospitality space.

It’s a tough time to work on the ground, noted Claire Tassin, a retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult. Jobs now come with added responsibilities, such as “enforcing mask requirements…and covering shifts for coworkers dealing with Covid isolation,” she told us in an email.

What to do? Employers, particularly restaurants, should try to simplify things. Emily Moquin, a food and beverage analyst also at Morning Consult, suggested “streamlining menus and payment methods” for one. (That should also let workers focus on the customer.)

Otherwise, companies will have to pay up. “Employers are asking more of their employees, and compensation and benefits need to reflect that reality,” Tassin added.

  • A number of retailers and restaurants have already taken that note, boosting hourly rates last year; Stephanie Pugliese, Under Armour’s president of the Americas, previously told us that competitive wages are here to stay.

But Morning Consult’s Kayla Bruun said that might be what’s driving workers to look around. “It’s a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle: Rising wages make workers more likely to seek opportunity elsewhere, they switch roles to achieve higher pay, which in turn drives up average wage growth.”