A record number of Americans quit their jobs in September as the so-called Great Resignation gained steam, the feds announced Friday.
A whopping 4.43 million people handed in their resignation letters two months ago, the most on record dating back to December 2000 — and 164,000 more than in August, the Labor Department said in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
The so-called quits rate — or the number of workers who resigned as a percent of total employment — increased to a record-high 3 percent in the month.
Resigning employees were led by workers in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, as well as those in state and local government education, according to the federal data.
At the same time, hiring slowed slightly — down to 6.46 million from 6.5 million in August, according to revised figures released Friday.
However, the total number of available jobs remained near record levels, at 10.44 million — down slightly from 10.63 million in August but nearly 58 percent higher than the same period last year.
The new data shows that American workers are continuing to quit at a record pace as companies complain of a nationwide labor shortage that’s holding back the economic recovery from the throes of the pandemic.
The quits rate, which typically stood around 2.3 percent before the pandemic, tends to tick up when the economic outlook is good, suggesting that Americans feel comfortable taking some risk and quitting their jobs.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case this time around, according to the closely watched University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, which was also published Friday.
The index dropped to 55.8 this month, the lowest level of consumer confidence since November 2011 and well below economists’ expectations of a reading of 72.5, according to the reading published Friday.
The tumble was largely driven by surging inflation cutting into households’ living standards.
Americans also expect to continue to see red-hot inflation for the foreseeable future, according to the survey — with the 12-month forecast rising to 4.9 percent.
Inflations spiked on a year-over-year basis more than it has in 30 years last month, the latest reading of the Consumer Price Index showed.
US inflation is now a whopping 6.2 percent higher than it was a year ago.
Meanwhile, Americans aren’t confident that lawmakers are working adequately to reel in inflation, the University of Michigan’s survey found.