A record number of Americans quit their jobs in the month of August, says the US Labor Department, with walkouts mostly hitting the food and retail sector.
Over 4.3 million workers left their jobs, breaking a record that had stood since the year 2000.
“As job openings and hires fell in August, the quits rate hit a new series high, surging along with the rise in Covid cases and likely growing concerns about working in the continuing pandemic,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, as cited in a report by CNBC.
The report was released as the US was facing a labor shortage crisis amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is an enormous labor shortage in the country right now and it is not just because people are quitting or have child care problems, or can’t get to work due to the Delta variant,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Fwdbonds, “claiming that demand for labor is higher than normal due to a strong economy.
This is while, the official estimates showed that a total of 892,000 workers in the food service and accommodation industries left their jobs along with 721,000 retail workers as well as 534,000 in health care and social assistance.
The plunge in leisure and hospitality made hires rate fall to 4.3 percent from 4.6 percent a month earlier.
The data is “highlighting the immense problems businesses are dealing with,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets told ABC News. “Not enough people. Not enough equipment and/or parts. Meantime, customers are waiting for their orders, or waiting to place their orders. What a strange world this is.”
On the other hand, some pandemic-weary workers appear to have no pathway but to go on a strike in order to achieve what is their right in terms of pay and benefit.
That has made some companies face difficulties finding replacements for workers during labor shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September job growth also fell well short of expectations and shrank by 183,000 from August.