The number of people quitting their jobs has surged to record highs, according to new data from the Department of Labor released Tuesday.
Some 4.3 million people quit jobs in August, according to the monthly survey — about 2.9 percent of the workforce. The phenomenon is being driven in part by workers who are less willing to endure inconvenient hours, compensation, or conditions because they know there are ample opportunities elsewhere.
Those numbers include about 892,000 workers in restaurants, bars and hotels, as well as 721,000 workers in retail. An additional 706,000 employees in professional business services and 534,000 workers in health care and social assistance also quit.
3% of the workforce quit in month! This is actually becoming a real issue in the economy, with short staffing now becoming an endemic problem. Of course, employers could actually design decent jobs that paid well. But that’s just crazy talk. This is a significant use of power by individual workers. It’s totally unorganized and apolitical. But taken together, it shows the great dissatisfaction with the jobs of the 21st century.
That warehouse work, which is absolutely dreadful, was supposed to be the big shift of the era, says just how little workers were taken into consideration when it came to designing the contemporary economy.
Warehouse jobs were supposed to be the future of the retail industry, offering opportunities for displaced employees and reshaping the American workforce. Amazon, Target, Walmart and other companies pledged to create hundreds of thousands of these positions at competitive wages — and increasingly with perks like free college thrown in — so they could fill the deluge of online orders that began with the coronavirus pandemic and continues unabated.
Let’s talk about the “opportunities” this “reshaping” of American work offers:
In interviews with more than a dozen current and former warehouse workers across the country, nearly all described being overwhelmed amid staff shortages, with few prospects for moving up.
Many spoke of 60-hour workweeks and requests to take on even more shifts during the peak holiday season. Some longtime employees — particularly those who worked through the early days of the pandemic — say they’re resentful of newcomers who are being wooed with large signing bonuses and higher wages. But even those incentives, they say, haven’t been enough to keep workers from leaving.
“People quit every single day,” said David, who works at an Amazon fulfillment center in Washington state and asked to be identified by his first name only because he fears retribution at work.
“The job is brutal: 10 hours on your feet,” he said. “Half the people quit after their first day.”
Who wouldn’t want such a quality job as this!
There is of course another answer here–immigration. There are in fact plenty of people who would take those jobs in those conditions. But they live in Guatemala. Honduras, and Haiti and we have a fascist military force at the border to whip them out of the country. So here we are. Employers are offering unprecedented perks, from free mattresses to college tuition. But what they aren’t offering is a job with any meaning and that isn’t hard on the body. So for at least the present, workers are going to seek something else that sucks less. That may well mean the continuance of our supply chain problems and a lack of given toys or whatever for Christmas. Small price to pay for workers taking control over their own lives and hopefully forcing changes in how the nation conceptualizes and compensates work.