Four Million Americans Quit Their Jobs in April

Call it the Johnny Paycheck revolution.

According to the Labor Department, more Americans are leaving their jobs than at any point in the last twenty years. About four million workers, or 2.7% of the entire labor force, departed positions in April. But experts say a unique opportunity to start fresh could be over as soon as summer ends.

“It’s The Best Time To Do It”

The labor market lost 20.5 million jobs in the opening weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. More than a year later, there are still 7.9 million fewer Americans employed than in February 2020, but the “Help Wanted” signs are now popping up all over as the economy has roared back:

  • There were a record 9.3 million job openings in April, and only 6 million people were hired. The bustling employer demand has given workers an upper hand in negotiating for better pay or working conditions.
  • And companies that advertised significant wage hikes understandably got a lot more attention from prospective hires on employment site Indeed.com – Bank of America’s share of searches rose 370% and Amazon’s 24%.

“If you can swing it, it’s the best time to do it,” Indeed economist Nick Bunker told CNBC, of quitting. He added that, with many potential job-seekers awaiting schools and child-care facilities to fully reopen this fall, those searching for employment right now have an advantage. “A lot of these temporary restraints on labor supply might go away, and in the fall we could see a different environment for hiring.”

Splash In The Labor Pool: There’s another big shoe to drop come September, when many more job-hunters are likely to join the labor market after federally enhanced unemployment benefits expire. About 15.4 million Americans were on unemployment benefits as of mid-May, 11.6 million of them on pandemic programs under the CARES Act.

Breaking Out The Checkbook: Schneider Electric North America promoted or gave new roles to 65% of employees identified as having high potential last year. “We’re all on our toes,” Mai Lan Nguyen, the company’s senior vice president for human resources, told The Wall Street Journal. “The best talent out there have many options.”

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