Economist: The 'Great Resignation' Is Over

New trend finds that workers are staying put amid a cooling labor market, losing some of their leverage
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2023 10:45 AM CDT
New Trend Finds Workers Staying Put
The US quitting rate was 2.4% in April, on par with pre-pandemic levels.   (Getty Images/Vasyl Dolmatov)

The "great resignation" has ended, and with it some of the power that workers have lately leveraged over employers. The share of monthly job departures relative to total employment fell to 2.4% in April from 2.5% in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. That's on par with the "quits rate" seen in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The rate dropped to 1.6% in April 2020 but climbed steadily from there as the US economy started to reopen and demand for workers outpaced supply. It reached 3% in September 2021, November 2021, and April 2022. There were about 4.5 million quits that April, per Axios.

"The pandemic gave workers more leverage than they’d ever had," ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak tells CNBC. In response, employers raised wages "at the fastest pace in decades," according to the outlet. With more opportunities and higher pay on offer, workers felt comfortable leaving their jobs for something better. But the declining quits rate indicates "the great resignation as we know it is over," Glassdoor's lead economist, Daniel Zhao, tells CNBC. "We are much closer to the labor market we had in 2019." That's true in the leisure and hospitality sectors, too.

For workers in those fields, "once the poster child for the quits boom," the quits rate hit 4.6% in April, per Axios. That's only slightly higher than the 4.4% rate from January 2020 and well below the 5.8% rate from last summer. In a new phase Fortune proposes as the "great retention," the labor market has cooled and staffing shortages have eased, stripping workers of some of their power. Pollak tells Axios that conditions are still favorable for workers, but "the deck isn't totally stacked in jobseekers' favor anymore." The labor market may continue to cool with the Federal Reserve anticipating a mild recession later this year, per CNBC. (More resignation stories.)

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