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More Americans quitting their jobs


CHICAGO – Nov. 1, 2013 – While hiring remains subdued throughout most of the country, the latest government data show that the number of American voluntarily leaving their employers is on the rise, which, according to one employment authority, suggests that the job market is indeed improving along with job seeker confidence.

“Quit levels offer important clues about the strength of the job market,” says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer with Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “The rising number of individuals willing to walk away from a job suggests that more are being lured away by other employers, or that they are confident enough in their job prospects that they can leave before securing a new position.”

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, released monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports that of the 4,376,000 separations recorded in August, approximately 2,364,000, or just over half (54 percent), were individuals voluntarily quitting their jobs. That was up from 2,342,000 in July and nearly 11 percent higher than the 2,139,000 job quitters recorded in August 2012.

The number of job quitters has been steadily rising since falling to a recession-low of 1,601,000 in September 2009. In 2011, an average of 1,941,000 Americans quit their jobs each month. By the end of 2012, the average was up to about 2,100,000 quits per month. Through the first eight months of 2013, quit levels are averaging, 2,247,000 per month.

“Meanwhile, the number of layoffs and other involuntary separations, such as being fired for cause, has been on the decline since mid- 2010,” says Challenger. “While, no one probably ever feels 100-percent secure in his or her job, these trends certainly indicate that Americans feel more confident about their job security now versus two years ago.”

In a 2010 survey of American workers by human resources consulting firm Mercer, about one in three (32 percent) said they wanted to leave and get a new job. That was up from 23 percent in a pre-recession survey from 2005. A more recent Harris Interactive poll found that nearly three-fourths of respondents would “consider finding a new job.”

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