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Why are people still leaving their jobs as the pandemic continues?

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We’ll get new Bureau of Labor Statistic numbers today that will tell us how many more workers quit their jobs in October. That quit rate has been high for months, and many workers who leave jobs say they are prioritizing their wellbeing. According to a survey from this fall, 1 out of 3 workers have contemplated quitting for mental health reasons.

Faith Clausen worked at a pharmaceutical warehouse in Everett, Washington for nearly two years before quitting recently. She said it was too stressful. 

“I don’t want to be part of it anymore,” she said.

Before the pandemic, Clausen might’ve stayed for the paycheck. But as soon as she left, she said she got interviews for other jobs. With so many openings out there, it felt right to prioritize her mental health. 

“Workers are putting their both physical and mental health in a priority when they’re making their career decisions,” said Luke Pardue, an economist with Gusto. It tracks quit rates across sectors. He said the so-called “Great Resignation” does not seem to be letting up. It’s still particularly high with customer-facing service jobs.

And Pardue said, COVID vaccination rates affect whether workers decide to quit. 

“There’s a very strong relationship between a state’s vaccination rate, and the rate at which workers in customer-facing jobs are leaving their jobs,” he said, adding that when workers are concerned about their physical health, that stress takes a toll on their mental health too. 

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