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LABOR PAINS

American workers are quitting at the highest rate in decades

Help wanted signs appear across Tampa
Reuters/Octavio Jones
It's summer job season and teens have never had it so good.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

Published Last updated on

There’s something unusual going on in the labor market: US workers are gaining leverage over employers.

Recovery from the pandemic has been weird, the result of a collision between public health measures, economic relief provided by governments and central banks, and social changes inspired by the experience of enduring coronavirus. This has resulted in a labor market that seems at once too hot and too cold: The high number of long-term unemployed, for example, suggests a very loose labor market, while the number of firms who say they can’t fill jobs suggests a tight one.

On the hot side, one of the most amazing facts is that the US economy is currently experiencing the highest rate of workers quitting their jobs that we’ve seen in the last two decades:

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