High Job Openings and High Quit Rates Further Tighten Labor Market for Employers

The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was released last week, and its findings make it clear that if employers aren’t already thinking about how to fill positions and keep talent, they will need to very soon.

Unfilled positions are increasing at record levels
The rate of job openings has reached 6.0%, a jump up from 5.4% just the month prior. This rate means that companies are actively seeking candidates for about 9.2 million open positions, nearly double what was reported a year ago when the pandemic was just getting underway. This increase is visible across all industries, with the highest rates appearing in the areas of hospitality, food service, and entertainment.

People are quitting at an increasing rate
The total separations rate (which includes both voluntary and involuntary turnover) came in at 4.0%, meaning about 5.7 million people were no longer working in their position. Voluntary quits made up the majority this rate, with about 70% of total quits in April being due to voluntary turnover, and has remained the majority of all quits ever since the start of 2021 when it was 62%, and has been climbing ever since.

When looking at just voluntary separations we see it reached a relatively high level with a rate of 2.7%, which equates to about 4 million resignations, an increase of 384,000 compared to a month prior. This rate is substantial considering that it was at 1.6% about a year ago when the pandemic had just begun.

While the reasons behind these trends are numerous and often up for debate, what we can say for sure is that the labor market is continuing to become more challenging for employers trying to fill positions, and it’s becoming more important for companies to do everything they can to keep the talent they already have.

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