Planet Money
12:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Millions Of People Are Quitting Their Jobs Every Month. That's Good News.

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 9:35 am

It might be hard to imagine in this sputtering recovery, but 2.4 million people actually quit their jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's nearly a million more quitters than there were during the darkest months of the recession.

As the graph shows, there's a big range in quit rates between industries. Some industries, like retail, always have a higher share of quitters than others, like government. But what matters is the change over time in each industry. In general, a rise in quitters is a promising sign: People usually quit because they have another job, or are confident that they can get one.

Janet Yellen, who is going to be one of the world's most important policymakers, singled out the quit rate early last year as an important labor market signal. She said: "A pickup in the quit rate, which also remains at a low level, would signal that workers perceive that their chances to be rehired are good ... ."

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