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The Shifting US Workforce and Record Quit Rates in March 2022


I Quit!


Record-setting 4.5 Million Quit Rate Puts More Upward Pressure On Wages

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3% of all US workers, totaling 4.5 million, voluntarily quit their jobs in March, representing an increase of 150,000 in the quit rate from February. The statistic is even more impressive since it tops a 20-year high in the national quit rate set last November. As we’ve been reporting here at Resource Erectors, 2022 is shaping up as an unprecedented market for job seekers. 

The voluntary quit rate shows a keen awareness in the US workforce that the opportunities for climbing the ladder to higher salaries and better benefits in a new job have never been more numerous. But money and benefits packages are only part of the motivation behind the shifting US workforce.

According to a survey conducted by  Pew Research, dissatisfied workers who voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021 aren’t lining up for unemployment. They’re moving onward and upward to better positions. Their major reasons for making a move include:

  • Low pay (63%)
  • No opportunities for advancement (63%) 
  • Feeling disrespected at work (57%) 
  • Child care difficulty (48%)
  • Not enough flexibility about working hours (45%)
  • Substandard Benefits (43%)
  • Geographic relocation (35%)
  • Working too many hours (39%)
  • Not enough working hours (30%)
  • Mandatory covid vaccination (18%)

11.5 Million US Job Openings Also at Record Highs

“The number of job openings hit a high of 11.5 million, underscoring employers’ struggles to fill positions as inflation ripples through the economy.” Financial Times 

The ratio of job openings to unemployed workers also reached record-setting levels in March 2022 with 11.5 million jobs available. That’s nearly 2 jobs (1.9) available for every unemployed person. The phenomenon that’s been called “The Great Resignation” isn’t showing any sign of tapering off soon. 

“Despite concerns about an imminent recession, employers are still looking to hire at near-historic rates and are desperately holding on to the workers they have. The labor market is still very much a jobseeker’s market. Something dramatic will have to happen for this to change anytime soon.” – Nick Bunker, economist at Indeed

civil construction jobs

Dealing With the 2022 Quit Rate in Manufacturing and Civil Construction

So far we’ve been discussing the quit rate of the entire US labor force but heavy industry has been feeling the pinch of the Great Resignation, perhaps longer than any other sector. Only leisure and hospitality businesses have higher quit rates. The leisure and hospitality sector chalked up a million quits last November.

Construction: Quits Outpace Layoffs For Over a Year

In the construction sector, we’re now into the 13th month of a troubling quit trend, as inter-industry competition for productive workers is hotter than ever. Construction workers quit their jobs at a rate of 3.2%. That number is well above the layoffs and firings rate of 1.6% percent. March represented the 13th consecutive month in which quits outpaced or equaled layoffs and discharges in construction. 

While the construction industry isn’t alone in facing record-setting quit rates and ongoing labor shortages, sectors like manufacturing are actually doing better when it comes to retaining their work forces. 

Manufacturing Sector Holds its Own Amidst the Great Resignation

After all the cloudy gloom and doom forecasts of what the financial gurus and MSM are calling “The Great Resignation,” we were happy to come across a breath of fresh air. The Industry Week article Manufacturing Contributes Little to Great Resignation pointed out that when it comes to the escalating quit rate, the manufacturing sector is actually showing stable turnover rates and even a decline in open positions.

manufacturing jobs

“The number of unfilled manufacturing jobs fell to a 5-month low of 858,000 positions in October, down from a 948,000 peak in September.”

 After the Voluntary Quit: A Shift to Job Satisfaction

Generally, workers who quit a job in 2021 and are now gainfully employed elsewhere see their current work situation as an improvement over the job they left behind. More than half say that they are now earning more money (56%), the new job provides more opportunities for career advancement (53%), they have an easier time managing work/life balance, (53%) and there is more versatility for choosing when they put in their work hours (50%).

The news is even better for college graduates making strategic career moves. Compared with their last job, graduates report they now earn more and have more opportunities for advancement. Benefits, paid time off, and work time flexibility are the perks they’re enjoying after making the shift onward and upward in their careers. 

About Resource Erectors

Launching you onward and upward in your heavy industry professional career has been the mission of Resource Erectors for decades now. We maintain ongoing relationships with North America’s industry-leading companies. We provide the specialized human resource experience required to match your talent and experience with the companies who realize that their human resources are their most valuable assets. 

As a specialized heavy industry HR company, we recruit and place the top professional level candidates in mining, aggregates, quarrying, manufacturing, civil construction, gypsum, bulk materials, construction materials, and much more. 

If your company is struggling with the escalating quit rate that shows no signs of easing off in 2022, Resource Erectors can provide the recruiting expertise you need to avoid the high costs of vacancies in essential positions, not to mention avoiding the disruptions of a bad hire. When you’re ready to join or build your next dream team you’re ready for Resource Erectors, so don’t hesitate to contact us and we can all get back to work.

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