Great Resignation continues as Americans quit jobs near record pace – USA TODAY

Job openings neared their all-time high in December despite the spread of coronavirus’s omicron variant while quitting dropped modestly from its record level as workers continued to hold the cards amid labor shortages.
Employers advertised 10.9 million job openings, up from 10.8 million the previous month and just below July’s all-time high of 11.1 million, Labor said in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Openings have topped 10 million for seven straight months. 
The rise in openings was driven by an increase of 133,000 in restaurants and hotels, the industries hit hardest by COVID-19-induced shutdowns and that have struggled most to bring on workers.
The number of employees quitting jobs dipped to 4.3 million from a record 4.5 million in November. That means 2.9% of workers voluntarily left their positions, typically to take new, better-paying jobs.
Since there were 6.3 million unemployed Americans in December, the 10.9 million openings translate to 1.7 available jobs for each unemployed person, the most on record dating back two decades.
The number of total hires fell from 6.6 million to 6.3 million amid the COVID-19 surge. The drop wasn’t surprising since the pandemic held down overall employment gains in December. The Labor Department previously reported that employers added a disappointing 199,000 jobs that month.
The strong showing underscores that despite omicron’s emergence, the Great Resignation is expected to continue in full force if the coronavirus variant fades as expected within weeks. Forty-one percent of professional service workers say they plan to look for a new job in the first half of the year, according to a recent survey by Robert Half staffing, up from 32% who intended to search in the second half of 2021.
And 28% of the workers planning to job hunt would quit without having a new position lined up.
A rising share of employees are walking off new jobs after less than a month, says Tom Gimbel, CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm. Some may be bolting if their employers increase the number of days they’re required to come into the office, he says.
“In this type of candidate-driven employment market, when talent is in such high demand, employees don’t feel as if they need to stick something out to see if it’s the right fit,” Gimbel says.
Strong consumer demand in an economy that continues to heal from the effects of the pandemic has kept openings near record highs.
But many workers are still outside the labor force. Some parents are caring for kids because they can’t find or afford child care. Other people are afraid of contracting COVID-19, especially with the more infectious but milder variant now dominant.
And many people can delay their return to the workforce because they’re living off government stimulus checks or generous unemployment benefits handed out earlier in the health crisis.  
Many employers are bumping up wages and offering signing bonuses and other perks to lure workers from other companies.
Employees, in turn, are switching jobs in unprecedented numbers to take advantage of the many job openings and higher pay.
In December, job quitting fell from 877,000 to 823,000 in hotels and restaurants and from 653,000 to 558,000 in health and education. Quitting rose from 707,000 to 759,000 in retail.
Why workers are leaving jobs:
Fifty-four percent of workers surveyed by ZipRecruiter in September said they preferred a job that let them work from home. Only about 10% of jobs offer that option, though that’s up from 3% before the pandemic, ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak says.
Many employees, in turn, are leaving jobs that require them to work in offices, says Jim McCoy, senior vice president of talent solutions at ManpowerGroup.  
That could eventually prod more companies to allow remote work, Pollak says.
Nineteen percent of workers said they’re unhappy with how employers treated them during the pandemic. This could include those who burned out after being forced to work long hours while colleagues were out or those in stressful industries such as health care.  
Twenty percent of workers surveyed by Joblist quit jobs to pursue new career paths and their passions.
Many restaurant and retail workers, in particular, grew weary of the low pay and health risks that came with their jobs.
About 25% of hospitality workers surveyed by Joblist said they wouldn’t want to work in the industry again.
And 20% of all workers say the pandemic caused them to change the kind of role they were seeking to one that permitted remote work, a ZipRecruiter survey shows.
Thirteen percent of workers quit because their jobs didn’t provide work-life balance, the Joblist poll reveals.
One-third of workers quit jobs to launch businesses, a Digital.com survey shows. 

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