WASHINGTON (AP) – A record 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs in November, a sign of confidence and further proof that the U.S. labor market is rebounding strongly from last year’s coronavirus recession.
The Labor Department also reported on Tuesday that employers posted 10.6 million job vacancies in November, up from 11.1 million in October, but still high by historical standards.
Employers hired 6.7 million people in November, up from 6.5 million in October, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday in its monthly survey of job openings and workforce turnover.
Nick Bunker, research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, noted that there are many departures in the low-wage hotel and restaurant industries. “Lots of resignations mean stronger bargaining power for workers, which will likely translate into solid pay gains,” he said. “Wage growth has been very strong in 2021, and… we could see the same thing in 2022. ”
Still, the Department of Labor collected the numbers before the omicron variant of COVID-19 spread widely in the United States. “Although each successive wave of the pandemic has caused less economic damage, there is still a risk to the job market associated with the current wave of cases,” Bunker said.
The labor market is rebounding from the brief but intense coronavirus recession of last year. When COVID hit, governments ordered shutdowns, consumers stayed at home, and many businesses closed or cut hours. Employers cut more than 22 million jobs in March and April 2020, and the unemployment rate climbed to 14.8%.
But massive government spending – and ultimately the rollout of vaccines – brought the economy back. Employers have created 18.5 million jobs since April 2020, still leaving 3.9 million fewer jobs in the United States than before the pandemic. The December jobs report, released Friday, is expected to show the economy generated nearly 393,000 additional jobs this month, according to a survey by data firm FactSet.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, close to what economists consider full employment.