HR Policy Association

Job Openings and Quit Rates Remain Near Record Highs

Published on: December 10, 2021

Authors: D. Mark Wilson

Topics: Jobs, Skills and Training

The number of U.S. job openings increased to a near record high of 11.0 million in October, down from the record 11.1 million in July, as a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs.  Education, health care, accommodation and food services, and retail trade were particularly hard hit.

There were 1.5 job openings for every unemployed American in October. 

Industries with the highest job opening rates include accommodation and food services (10.7%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (8.6%); and nondurable goods manufacturing (8.2%).  Educational services (4.6%), financial activities (4.8%), and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.1%) had the lowest rates.

Industries with the highest quit rates include accommodation and food services (6.0%), retail trade (4.4%), and professional and business services (3.5%).  Quits are consuming 64% of the total number of new hires every month, making it difficult for employers to add employees.

Quit rates hit a record high for large employers with 5,000 or more employees (1.6%) but remained well below the rates for employers with 1,000 to 4,999 employees (2.6%) and for employers with 250 to 999 employees (3.5%).  The 30% increase in the quit rate for large employers in October may be related to implementing vaccine mandates.

Wages increasing in 2022:  Separately, a new Conference Board report shows companies are planning to increase total payroll spending an average 3.9% in 2022, the most since 2008.  The survey also shows companies are planning on raising salary ranges, which would result in higher minimum, median and maximum salaries.

Quit rates expected to remain high.  According to a recent CivicScience survey, another record-setting level of resignations may occur in the near future.  As of early November, 13% of workers say they plan to leave their current jobs soon.

D. Mark Wilson

President and CEO, American Health Policy Institute

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