RALEIGH – A new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data conducted by WalletHub finds that North Carolina ranked 13th in the nation when it comes to the percentage of workers who chose to leave a job over the prior 12 months.

That metric is often referred to as the “quit rate” or “resignation rate.”

In 2021, more people quit than ever before.  That includes multiple months where more than four and a half million American workers left a job, record highs.

And as the office closures due to the COVID pandemic wane, some workers have signaled that they may prefer quitting than returning to their office.

The talent market is undergoing a restructure and some economists believe that the future of our economy depends on what happens with the structure of the labor market moving forward.  There’s also new uncertainty in the economy caused by rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, and with a growing number of job openings across North Carolina and two-thirds of workers reporting they don’t believe that their wages are high enough to adequately combat rising costs, the labor market may continue to be in a state of disruption.

2 in 3 U.S. workers believe current wages are inadequate due to inflation

Behind the data

North Carolina’s quit rate, according to the latest available U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics data, was 2.9% in the last month in the data set.

That’s below the quit rate observed in the prior 12 months of data, when North Carolina’s resignation rate was 3.24% of the workforce.

A WalletHub analysis, which placed greater weight on the most recent month of data compared to the 12 month average, placed North Carolina 21st overall in terms of the U.S. states (and District of Columbia) where workers are quitting the most.  North Carolina is 13th over the prior 12 months, but 24th in the most recent month of data, ranked by percentage of workers.

“This is very difficult for employers,” said Pamela L. Perrewe, The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Department of Management, College of Business – Florida State University, in the WalletHub report.  “They are having a tough time finding workers who will stay with them. Turnover is very high.”

There could be a seismic shift in the labor market

And with summer around the corner, and uncertainty about the economy and rising costs of goods and services, there may be even more disruptions coming, said Perrewe.  “Perhaps my biggest concern right now is that women are leaving the workforce in droves,” said Perrewe.  “Much of this is due to the incredibly high cost of childcare.”

It’s not just low-wage workers leaving roles, either, said Erin J. Hendrickson, a Professor of the Practice of Law, Marshall-Wythe School of Law – William & Mary Law School, in the WalletHub report. Higher-wage workers are leaving roles, as well.  And, many who can afford to do so are choosing to retire early.

Some studies have indicated that a higher percentage of women (as compared to men) have quit their jobs in recent months, said Hendrickson.

“Since women often carry more responsibility for childcare, this statistic suggests that parents may be having difficulty finding childcare and/or struggling to balance work with the demands of remote learning,” said Hendrickson.

Perrewe called this a “vicious cycle,” adding that it “can only be broken if we have affordable child care.”

Omicron, a disaster for working parents, as child care centers shut down