5 Industries Where Workers Are Quitting in Droves

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Female fast-food worker
Asier Romero / Shutterstock.com

More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people out of their jobs, many of those workers are finding themselves unemployed again.

But this time, it’s by choice.

In what has been called the Great Resignation, millions of workers are quitting their jobs and looking for greener pastures. Over the summer, an astounding 95% of workers surveyed said they were thinking about leaving their workplace, according to Monster.com.

As it turns out, those were not idle threats. In August alone, 242,000 workers quit their jobs, bringing the total to a record high of 4.27 million, according to preliminary figures released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Oct. 12.

Some areas of the workforce have been hit especially hard. Following are the five industries in which the largest numbers of workers quit their jobs in August.

Durable goods manufacturing

Building a computer
Preechar Bowonkitwanchai / Shutterstock.com

Number of employees who quit in August: 12,000

Quits rate for August: 2.1%

The BLS generally defines what it calls “quits” as “voluntary separations initiated by the employee” — essentially meaning instances of employees choosing to quit their jobs. This figure excludes employees who left their jobs to retire.

The BLS defines the quits rate as the number of quits during an entire month expressed as a percent of total employment. Consequently, the BLS says, the quits rate “can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs”

Public education

DGLimages / Shutterstock.com

Number of workers who quit in August: 25,000

Quits rate for August: 0.7%

While a relatively large number of people working in state and local government education quit their jobs in August, this industry tied (with federal government) for the lowest quits rate.

Wondering what workers earn in this industry? Check out “Here’s How Much Teachers Are Paid in Every State” for starters.

Wholesale trade

Woman in a wholesale warehouse
Fusionstudio / Shutterstock.com

Number of employees who quit in August: 26,000

Quits rate for August: 2.7%

Retail trade

A worker in a retail store handing a shopping bag to a customer
Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Number of employees who quit in August: 39,000

Quits rate for August: 4.7%

Retail trade had not only the second-highest total number of quits in August but also the second-highest quits rate of all industries included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data. Only the next industry on this list had a higher rate than retail trade.

Accommodation and food services

New Orleans waitress serving cajun food.
Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Number of employees who quit in August: 157,000

Quits rate for August: 6.8%

In addition to seeing by far the largest total number of employees quit their jobs in August, the accommodation and food services industry also had by far the highest quit rate, at 6.8%, followed by the retail trade industry’s rate of 4.7%.

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