Millions of Americans quitting their jobs during ‘The Great Resignation’

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -They’re calling it “The Great Resignation.” Nearly four million Americans quit their jobs in April. That’s the highest total ever and nearly double the number who quit a year ago.

The number of people quitting is adding to the labor shortages companies are facing. University of Iowa Professor Stephen Courtright says people are using the pandemic as a time to reset.

Whether it’s a better-paying job, switching careers, or doing nothing, people want to do what makes them happy.

“The pandemic has either given us time to or forced us to re-evaluate our lives,” he said.

Courtright says part of that evaluation is people wondering if they like their job.

“Many people may have been thinking about leaving before the pandemic decided to stay during the pandemic,” he said. “And now that the uncertainty about the pandemic is reduced, they’re looking for more options.”

He says some people may quit if they can’t continue working remotely. It’s why some jobs now promoting the option of working from home.

“Some people are saying I don’t want to give up that autonomy,” said Courtright. “To me, that’s more valuable. The cost of staying is more valuable than the cost of leaving when it comes to autonomy.”

While the staffing agency Labor Finders in Cedar Rapids says people are calling them to get back to work. People are also valuing themselves and their time more.

“It has been more difficult placing people at the lower pay rates,” said Branch Manager Justin McDowell. “Such as $8-10 dollar an hour range.”

As jobs start returning to some sense of normalcy, Courtright says employers should evaluate what the future of their workforce might look like, too.

“People are re-evaluating what they want out of work what drives them at work,” he said. “Organizations are really having to respond to that, so I don’t think that is a blip.”

The hospitality industry has the highest number of people quitting right now. Courtright says some people are quitting without having a new job. He says people were saving money during quarantine and the stimulus checks helped as extra cash for some people, giving them some cushion to find their perfect job.

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