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Number Of Voluntary Quits: A Sign Of A Strengthening Job Market?


Posted by Insightlink on 10/29/14

More Americans Are Choosing to Leave Their Jobs

An important measure of the health of the U.S. job market can be found in the monthly "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey" (JOLTS) results from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).i quit

Since hitting a low point in September of 2009, when just 1.6 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs, the average number of quits for the last five months has been more like 2.5 million. This number has increased steadily over the past three years, rising from 1.9 million per month in 2011 to 2.1 million in 2012 and up to 2.3 million last year.

A higher number of voluntary departures each month is a sign that employees feel relatively confident about their job prospects -- most need this feeling of confidence before they'll leave their current jobs. In fact, the JOLTS data has historically shown that quits go up with an improving economy and fall during weakening economic conditions. However, as with other economic indicators, we're not completely out of the woods yet, since the average number of quits in the two years prior to the Great Recession was 2.9 million per month.

Although the JOLTS data does not record the reasons for quitting their jobs, our experience with exit surveys shows that, unlike the old adage that "employees don't quit their jobs, they quit their managers," most employees leave voluntarily in order to advance their careers.

The JOLTS results from September 2014 are due to be released on November 13, 2014. You can learn more about JOLTS here at http://www.bls.gov/jlt/

Read a similar article on SHRM.org at this link (you must be a SHRM member to access it).

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