4.3 million quitters and me 👋
Also, a look at last week and next week
I quit two really great, stable, well-paying jobs this year.
In June, I left an awesome job as Yahoo Finance’s managing editor after a 5.5-year run. It was time to try something different. Axios had called, offering me an opportunity to focus on what I love most: writing about markets and the economy.
Everything about my first few weeks at Axios had me convinced I’d be at this company for a long time. But not long after I started, Substack called with a totally unexpected proposal to start my own paid newsletter.
It doesn’t get much riskier than starting a business from scratch with no customers. Substack offered me a modest grant, betting that I’d be successful. If some company was willing to make a bet on me, then why couldn’t I do the same for myself?
And so here I am. I am the sole revenue generator, as well as the heads of IT, HR, finance, accounts receivable, and building management.
I’ve loved it! (…so far; it’s literally day 4.) I’ve never felt more optimistic. And if it works out, I can only imagine the upside, all of which I get to keep.
That’s my story about quitting. And it’s just one of many.
4.3 million quitters
A record-high 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, according to BLS data released last week.
It seems the so-called “Great Resignation” is accelerating.
People are quitting low-paying jobs for higher-paying jobs. People are quitting great jobs for even better jobs. People are quitting to become their own boss. People are quitting because they don’t actually need the income.1
Not all quitters are happy about their decision. Many are quitting because of childcare issues. Many are quitting because they’re concerned about the spread of COVID. Many are quitting because they’re burned out and need some time to refresh and recharge.
Indeed, if everyone was quitting for better jobs, then there wouldn’t be many job openings. And there are a lot of job openings.
The big picture
This is great news for workers who have a lot of job opportunities and a lot of leverage to ask for more money. It’s notable that wage growth is particularly strong in low paying jobs like those in the leisure and hospitality industries.
On the flip side, this is a nightmare for employers: It can be pretty disruptive when someone good quits. And having to pay higher wages puts pressure on profit margins.
But it’s hard not to see this as bullish over the longer-term. Employers wouldn’t be trying to fill 10.4 million jobs if they didn’t think there was demand. If some of those jobs get filled by some of the 7.7 million unemployed or the roughly 4.3 million who left the labor force, then that would give businesses a lot more capacity to sell stuff while also putting money into newly employed folks’ pockets.