Hooray for quitters

Americans are leaving their jobs — and that’s a good sign

Americans are quitting their jobs — and that’s a good sign

American workers have had enough. They’re quitting — and that’s a very good sign for the economy.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks the the rate at which Americans voluntarily quit their job via the appropriately named “quit rate.” When the rate rises, it’s a good indication that workers are feeling more hopeful about their wage and employment prospects. When it tumbles, it shows the that workers are clinging to whatever job they have and don’t think there’s much else available.

The rate usually doesn’t move that much. But you can see that it plummeted back in 2008, when the economy basically ground to a halt when the financial system nearly collapsed.

But the just-released numbers for July show the rate has essentially returned to the levels that we would normally associate with pretty good times. It held steady at 2.1 percent in July. (After all, during the boom years before the crash it hovered around 2.2 percent.)

chart-16

 

This shouldn’t be a surprise, the US economy has been on one of the largest job creation jags in history, creating new jobs for 71 consecutive months, the longest stretch on record. Now it doesn’t feel terrific to a lot of people given how hurt they were by the recession. (Wages, as measured by US median household income, are basically where they were 25 years ago.)

But, the quit rate is consistent with other indicators we’ve looked at showing that people, on the whole, are feeling better about the US job picture.

M-F 7:30PM HBO