Employees Are Saying “I Quit” Again

Two short words are being heard in offices that have been absent for some time.  The words are:  “I quit.”   In the last three months, more Americans have quit their jobs than were laid off, a sharp contrast with the last few years that points to a gradually thawing jobs market. Although some of the quitters have accepted new jobs when they resign, others have no firm offers except for a new-found confidence that they will be able to find employment quickly.  “There is a century’s worth of evidence that bears out this view that quits rise and layoffs fall as the job market improves,” said Steven Davis, a University of Chicago economist.

Long-term trends point to a job market that can only improve.  Already this year, the economy has created a net 982,000 jobs following a recession that wiped out more than eight million jobs.  According to the federal government, the number of people who quit their jobs in April rose to nearly two million, the most in more than a year and a 12 percent increase over January.  Workers were afraid to quit during the darkest months of the recession, and with good reason.  Jobs were in short supply; others feared facing layoff because of the “last hired, first fired” principle.

Fear kept many people in their jobs, according to David Adams, vice president of training at Adecco, a national staffing firm, who says that his firm had trouble recruiting people for open jobs during the recession.  Now, Adams is seeing more people who have jobs looking to interview versus laid-off workers searching for employment.  “The hangover is over.  It’s really starting to move toward a market where the employee can have a lot more confidence making a move.”