Americans are still leaving their jobs, despite the fact that personal debt continues to rise and savings accounts are being depleted.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data recently that showed the total number of job openings in the country actually grew in August, which was quite unexpected.
The BLS published its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and it showed that about 9.6 million job openings were listed during August. That was much higher than July’s anticipated openings of 8.8 million.
In reaction to the data, Rutgers University’s Carl Van Horn spoke to Newsweek and said:
“The increase in job quitting is driven by historically low levels of unemployment. The surge in job openings creates opportunities for employed and unemployed Americans to leave their current jobs and find better jobs that pay more or give them more flexibility for when and where they work.”
The BLS report showed that much of the openings originated in the manufacturing, finance, and professional and business services sectors.
The JOLTS survey actually showed that August marked the first time in the last three months that job openings increased, and they’re now back to the same levels they were at before the pandemic. The labor market continues to strengthen, according to the numbers, as the total number of new hires went from 5.82 million in July to 5.86 million in August.
The report also showed that people are quitting their jobs at a higher rate. Those who quit increased to 3.64 million in August from 3.62 million a month before. Layoffs remained at about the same level, with 1.68 million happening in August.
The fact that job openings have increased is somewhat surprising, as many Americans are reporting that they are experiencing increased stress revolved around finances. A new study conducted by Momentive and CNBC, for instance, found that about 70% of Americans said they were experiencing some form of financial pressure that is coming from stagnant wages and high inflation.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s senior vice president, Bruce McClary, recently told CNBC:
“People are worried that the money they’ve saved won’t last and are worried they’re going to have to lean more on their credit cards and other sources of debt just to get by.”
People are having to dip into any savings they have just to pay for necessities. The survey showed that 53% of people who have an income of $50,000 or less dont’ have at least $5,000 in a savings account. And 12% of people who earn at least $100,000 don’t have that much in savings, either.
Yet, despite this widespread concern – which is affecting all people regardless of their income level – people are still quitting their jobs.
Experts in the field say that the reason for this is that many Americans are deciding to leave a job for a new one that offers better benefits and pay. President Joe Biden agrees, as he said recently:
“This isn’t about workers walking away and refusing to work. It’s about workers able to take a step up to provide for themselves and their families.”