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Americans quit their jobs – and women lead “the Great Resignation”

Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers – and women are leading “the Great Resignation.”

Almost 3% of workers tendered their resignations in August, a record, the government reported Tuesday. The number of quits rose to 4.3 million, eclipsing the number of layoffs by employers, who cut 1.3 million jobs in the same month.

And women are quitting their jobs at a faster rate than men, according to data from payroll services company Gusto, which focuses on small businesses. His analysis found that 5.5% of women left their jobs in August, compared to 4.4% of men – a gender gap that is the largest Gusto has seen since he started tracking the problem. in early 2020.

The findings follow last week’s employment report, which found that nearly 300,000 women left the workforce in September. This means that all September employment gains – when employers added a meager 194,000 jobs – were due to an increase in the number of men finding new jobs.

But, economists warn, the US economy may not gain a foothold until women fully re-enter the workforce, especially since female workers the majority of jobs in the country before the pandemic.

The pandemic has hit women workers, who have taken the brunt of childcare duties as schools struggle to reopen and childcare spaces can be scarce and expensive. Women are also more likely to work in customer-facing jobs, such as restaurants and retail, industries that have been hit hard by the Delta variant this summer.

“The small number of jobs created each month are made by men, and women are leaving the workforce again,” said Luke Pardue, economist at Gusto. “Two in three caregivers are women, so when the demand for this care increases, they will be the ones leaving the workforce. ”

Dealing with the crisis in childcare services


He added that the trend is a red flag for the economy: “We are not going to see a full and fair recovery until women return to the workforce at equal rates with men.

So far, the tendency for women to quit faster than men does not appear to be waning, according to data from Gusto. Resignations remained high in September, with the dropout rate for women still around 1 percentage point higher than for men, Gusto found.

Granted, Gusto’s data doesn’t follow large employers, but Pardue said he would expect women in large companies to quit at higher rates than men as well, as Gusto’s data generally follows. national trends.

Increase in “urgent” hires

Employers are feeling the pain of hiring as the workforce remains smaller than it was before the pandemic. Despite vaccinations and economic reopenings, there are still 3.2 million fewer workers in the workforce today than in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic put the economy back on track .

More Americans were expected to return to the workforce with the end of pandemic Labor Day unemployment assistance, but so far this theory has failed. As some politicians and business owners looking for more workers had anticipated. This indicates that the extra weekly payments of $ 300 were probably not the main reason for keeping workers on the sidelines, economists said. Instead, health and child care issues seem to be the biggest burden on workers.

“Frankly [pandemic jobless benefits] the end didn’t suddenly bring everything back to normal in the job market, ”said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. “We always see employers having difficulty hiring, and we don’t see the interest of job seekers. “

This is leading to an increase in the number of employers posting “urgent” hiring notices, according to data from Indeed. And three of the four industries where employers are looking to hire immediately are those dominated by women: personal care and home health, nursing and child care, Konkel said. The fourth industry with a high share of “urgent” hiring announcements is driving and transportation.

“A lot of them are for in-person work,” Konkel noted. “You cannot do remote home nursing or personal health care.”

Women and burnout

Women experience higher burnout rates than men – and the situation is getting worse, business consultancy McKinsey and Lean In found in their “Women in the Workplace” report released last month. . About one in three women said they considered leaving the workforce or downgrading their career in 2021, up from one in four at the start of the pandemic.

More professional women are taking medical time off to deal with stress, burnout and burnout, said Asha Tarry, therapist and founder of Behavioral Health Consulting Services, who also works with professionals and practitioners. business owners. The problem is particularly acute for women of color, she noted.

People work 10 to 12 hours a day, bring their work home – or never separate work and family life if they work remotely, she added. In some cases, workers are being asked to take on more responsibility given the shrinking workforce – “working more hours for the same pay,” she said.

Women “are conditioned on people pleasing to our own detriment,” she added.

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In addition to these work stresses, women with children face a lack of childcare as well as reopening of schools that have been marred by COVID-19 epidemics and quarantines. Children under 12 cannot yet receive the COVID-19 vaccine, adding stress to back-to-school plans for many families.

Women like Laura Pacific, a 35-year-old single mom who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, told CBS MoneyWatch that the rate in effect for childcare in her region can reach up to $ 800 per month, which is more than her monthly rent. “They say there are a lot of jobs right now, but because of the daycare situation, I can’t take advantage of any of them,” she said.

Political experts say such compromises add urgency to President Joe Biden’s plan to expand social services to families, like his plan to provide universal nursery school for all three and four year olds in the country. Such programs would allow many parents to enter the workforce, while reducing household budgets for young families.

“A hot labor market”

For those looking for a job change or wanting to re-enter the workforce, now is the right time to be an employee, economists say.

The growing share of quits “indicates a hot labor market – job vacancies are still close to an all time high, and quits are also at an all time high,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at the website. Glassdoor jobs. “The resignations are a positive signal that workers believe there are job opportunities out there.”

Government data on employees leaving their jobs does not indicate whether people find new jobs or simply exit the workforce. But about 4 in 10 people who quit worked either in the leisure and hospitality industries, such as restaurants, or in retail stores. Workers in these traditionally lower paid industries may get better paying jobs elsewhere, or move to jobs that do not involve dealing with clients.

“For the record, we have seen more and more employers offering a wide variety of bonuses and benefits,” Zhao said. “They offer new benefits like student loan assistance or tuition reimbursement, which are 21st century benefits that employers are experimenting with.”

If employers don’t have the financial flexibility to offer higher wages to attract applicants, they may consider other sweeteners, he added. “There are other perks and perks that might be more appealing than a traditional raise,” he said. “The most obvious example is if you can emphasize flexibility. A working parent might prefer that.”