pandemic sets off unprecedented churn in U.S. labor market
#Covid-19 #Labor #employment
The COVID-19 pandemic set off nearly unprecedented churn in the U.S. labor market. Widespread job losses in the early months of the pandemic gave way to tight labor markets in 2021, driven in part by what’s come to be known as the Great Resignation. The nation’s “quit rate” reached a 20-year high last November.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. The survey also finds that those who quit and are now employed elsewhere are more likely than not to say their current job has better pay, more opportunities for advancement and more work-life balance and flexibility.
Majorities of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit, according to the Feb. 7-13 survey. At least a third say each of these were major reasons why they left.
Roughly half say child care issues were a reason they quit a job (48% among those with a child younger than 18 in the household). A similar share point to a lack of flexibility to choose when they put in their hours (45%) or not having good benefits such as health insurance and paid time off (43%). Roughly a quarter say each of these was a major reason.
About four-in-ten adults who quit a job last year (39%) say a reason was that they were working too many hours, while three-in-ten cite working too few hours. About a third (35%) cite wanting to relocate to a different area, while relatively few (18%) cite their employer requiring a COVID-19 vaccine as a reason.
When asked separately whether their reasons for quitting a job were related to the coronavirus outbreak, 31% say they were. Those without a four-year college degree (34%) are more likely than those with a bachelor’s degree or more education (21%) to say the pandemic played a role in their decision.
For the most part, men and women offer similar reasons for having quit a job in the past year. But there are significant differences by educational attainment.
Among adults who quit a job in 2021, those without a four-year college degree are more likely than those with at least a bachelor’s degree to point to several reasons. These include not having enough flexibility to decide when they put in their hours (49% of non-college graduates vs. 34% of college graduates), having to work too few hours (35% vs. 17%) and their employer requiring a COVID-19 vaccine (21% vs. 8%).
There are also notable differences by race and ethnicity. Non-White adults who quit a job last year are more likely than their White counterparts to say the reasons include not having enough flexibility (52% vs. 38%), wanting to relocate to a different area (41% vs. 30%), working too few hours (37% vs. 24%) or their employer requiring that they have a COVID-19 vaccine (27% vs. 10%). The non-White category includes those who identify as Black, Asian, Hispanic, some other race or multiple races. These groups could not be analyzed separately due to sample size limitations.