Sunday, 19 August 2018 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Quit Rates Jump to 17-Year High in March

Friday, April 06, 2018 By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research | Report
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The percentage of unemployment due to people who voluntarily quit their jobs jumped to 13.1 percent in March, the highest level since May of 2001. This statistic is a good measure of workers' confidence in the labor market, since it means that they are prepared to leave a job even before they have a new one lined up. Until this month, the quit rate had been unusually low (mostly under 11.0 percent) given the levels of unemployment we were seeing. The March level is more consistent with an unemployment rate near 4.0 percent.

This is also coinciding with some evidence of an uptick in wage growth. While the year-over-year rate was just 2.7 percent, the annualized rate, compared the average for the last three months (January, February, and March) with the prior three months (October, November, and December), was 3.2 percent. This suggests that workers may finally be getting back some of the share of income they lost to profits in the Great Recession.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Dean Baker

Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, which he cofounded. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is a regular Truthout columnist and a member of Truthout's Board of Advisers.

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Quit Rates Jump to 17-Year High in March

Friday, April 06, 2018 By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

The percentage of unemployment due to people who voluntarily quit their jobs jumped to 13.1 percent in March, the highest level since May of 2001. This statistic is a good measure of workers' confidence in the labor market, since it means that they are prepared to leave a job even before they have a new one lined up. Until this month, the quit rate had been unusually low (mostly under 11.0 percent) given the levels of unemployment we were seeing. The March level is more consistent with an unemployment rate near 4.0 percent.

This is also coinciding with some evidence of an uptick in wage growth. While the year-over-year rate was just 2.7 percent, the annualized rate, compared the average for the last three months (January, February, and March) with the prior three months (October, November, and December), was 3.2 percent. This suggests that workers may finally be getting back some of the share of income they lost to profits in the Great Recession.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Dean Baker

Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, which he cofounded. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is a regular Truthout columnist and a member of Truthout's Board of Advisers.