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Quits rate shows workers ready to jump ship

Mitchell Hartman Oct 9, 2019
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A "now hiring" sign is posted on a table during a career fair for veterans in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One sign that the job market was strong at the end of the summer is the quits rate reported in the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS). The July report showed the rate at which workers voluntarily leave their jobs rose to 2.4%. Data from the St. Louis Fed show the quits rate hasn’t been that high since April 2001.

Job openings, meanwhile, peaked in November 2018 and have edged lower since. That matches other job market indicators, including monthly job creation, which has declined from 223,000 jobs per month in 2018 to 161,000 per month in 2019, according to the Labor Department’s September Employment Situation Summary.

The JOLTS report released this morning, covering August, showed the quits rate little changed, at 2.3%.