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The Effects of the “Great Resignation” on Labor Market Slack and Inflation
The fraction of Americans switching their jobs has been increasing at a fast pace in the past 18 months, reaching its highest level on record. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021—the largest figure in the past two decades. This period has been dubbed the Great Resignation. At the same time, wages and salaries have accelerated considerably and by the end of 2021, inflation had hit its highest level since 1982.
The Great Resignation vs. The Great Reallocation: Industry-Level Evidence
Some workers have experienced the Great Resignation, but others have gone through the Great Reallocation— transferring from one job to another.
The Great Resignation vs. the Great Reallocation Revisited
The type of jobs typically found in the service industry had the sharpest increase in people quitting for a new job in 2021, according to an analysis of job quits.
“Great Resignations” Are Common During Fast Recoveries
The record percentage of workers who are quitting their jobs, known as the “Great Resignation,” is not a shift in worker attitudes in the wake of the pandemic. Evidence on which workers are quitting suggests that it reflects the strong rebound of the demand for younger and less-educated workers. Historical data on quits in manufacturing suggest that the current wave is not unusual. Waves of job quits have occurred during all fast recoveries in the postwar period.