COVID-19

For some, it may make more sense at this moment to quit a job

Erika Beras Sep 16, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Some people are quitting jobs because it's too dangerous to work during the pandemic. Al Bello/Getty Images
COVID-19

For some, it may make more sense at this moment to quit a job

Erika Beras Sep 16, 2020
Some people are quitting jobs because it's too dangerous to work during the pandemic. Al Bello/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

There were some new data from the Labor Department last week: The number of people voluntarily quitting their jobs increased by 344,000 to 2.9 million in July.

Often a high quit rate means unemployment is low and people feel confident that they can find a better job. But with the pandemic, even though unemployment is high, things are different.

“Gaps in resumes now are much more understandable than they might have been in the past,” said Matthew Slaughter, an economist at Dartmouth. 

The Labor Department says retail workers made up about half of those leaving their jobs voluntarily in July. They may have health concerns because of COVID-19, according to Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. 

“There may be people who are voluntarily quitting, because it’s just not safe for them to have a job right now,” she said.

Or they may need to take care of their kids, said Beth Humberd, a management professor at UMass Lowell. Because so many kids are home, “it’s out of necessity to manage the working family conundrum.”

And that choice may be falling disproportionately on women. Their participation rate in the labor market has dropped during the pandemic

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s been weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that was supposed to get the federal government back into the business of topping up unemployment benefits, to $400 a week. Few states, however, are currently paying even part of the benefit that the president promised. And, it looks like, in most states, the maximum additional benefit unemployment recipients will be able to get is $300.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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