RALEIGH – As workers across the nation are deciding to leave their jobs in record numbers, a new analysis of employment data shows that North Carolina ranks ninth in the country for its quit rate, or the percentage of workers choosing to resign.

The WalletHub analysis found that North Carolina had the tenth highest resignation rate in November 2021, which is the most recent data available, of all U.S. states, and the ninth highest resignation rate in the last 12 months.

Overall, WalletHub ranked North Carolina ninth behind Alaska, Wyoming, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

North Carolina’s quit rate in the last 12 months for which data was available was found to be 3.22%, and in the latest month of available data, the quit rate was 3.6%, according to WalletHub’s analysis.

But economist Dr. Mike Walden at N.C. State sees the news as a positive reflection on the state’s labor market and economy.

“In my opinion, NC ranks high on the resignation scale because it has a dynamic economy that has generated significant expansion in better paying jobs, such as in tech, finance, and healthcare,” he told WRAL TechWire. “So, compared to other states, NC has had the type of economy that allowed the up-skilling plan to work.  Of course, the downside has been labor shortages in sectors the up-skillers left.

“The great resignation, and the self-generated up-skilling that has been a big factor behind it, will ultimately be viewed as one of the unexpected, but beneficial, results of the pandemic,” he added.

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According to the analysis, North Carolina’s quit rate was 3.6% in November 2021.  Nationally, more than 4.5 million people left jobs in November 2021, and more than 4.4 million left jobs in September 2021.

And a new survey released last week shows that three in 10 workers would rather quit that return to an office environment for their jobs.

North Carolina ranked ninth highest for the quit rate during the prior 12 months of available data among all 50 U.S. states, at 3.22%, the analysis found.

For the latest month where data was available, the state with the highest quit rate was Alaska, at 5.2%, followed by Wyoming, at 4.7%, according to the WalletHub analysis.

Georgia, the state most similar to North Carolina in terms of population size, had the seventh highest quit rate for the month where data was last available, at 3.9%.

The other states ahead of North Carolina in the rankings, for the month where the latest data was available were New Hampshire (3rd), Vermont (4th), North Dakota (5th), Maine (6th), Montana (8th), and Kentucky (9th), with North Carolina ranked 10th.

Overall, what’s happening in the jobs market? It’s not a simple answer, says Walden.

“There are several factors at work leading to the great resignation.  Some parents with young children may have decided to forego work while so much uncertainty persists with school schedules, on-going fears about Covid, and difficulty finding adequate and affordable childcare,” he explains.

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” There’s also been an increase in retirements as older workers re-evaluate their future in response to questions about the future of the workplace, the impact of the virus reminding them of the fragility of life, and – importantly – strong gains in the stock market that may have super-charged their retirement accounts.”

Yet there are other factors at play, he points out.

“But perhaps the most interesting factor is the self-directed up-skilling many workers, especially young workers, have undertaken when they were furloughed from their jobs during the pandemic,” Walden says.

“With financial support provided by several of the federal programs enacted in the last three years, these workers decided they wanted jobs with a better future and better pay compared to their previous job. So they undertook formal and informal training to return to the workforce in a position higher on the financial ladder.  By up-skilling, the workers could command higher pay and provide a higher level of productivity to the economy. ”

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