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One Reason That Quitting is Good

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 13, 2014    •    566 Views

I have read that Fed Chair Janet Yellen is particularly interested in JOLTS. Representing Job Openings and Labor market Turnover Survey, JOLTS data tell an interesting story.

You can see how the trend in job openings parallels the Great Recession almost exactly:

Employment Report JOLTS job openings

From: St. Louis Fed

So too does hiring:

Employment Report JOLTS Hires

From: St. Louis Fed

And the layoff and discharge numbers:

Employment Report JOLTS layoffs and discharges

From: St. Louis Fed


But I wonder if the “quit” numbers particularly provide insight. Think for a moment about jobs that people dislike. In healthy economic conditions, we are more willing to leave a distasteful job because an alternative is probably available. However, during a contraction and especially the Great Recession, our optimism evaporates. If you were working, you stayed there.

Employment JOLTS quit numbers

From: St. Louis Fed

If the quit rate trend is up, is that good economic news?

Sources and Resources: H/T to for an interesting JOLTS report. For the numbers, the St. Louis Fed’s graph are a wonderful resources here, here, here and here.

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