JOLTS report

4.4 Million Quits in September 2021 – The Great Resignation Just Got More Serious: JOLTS report

A record 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August – the JOLTS report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics released this September revealed this baffling number amongst other statistics around hiring and separation. Looks like the Great Resignation just got “greater” and a lot more serious.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August data of the “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary ” (JOLTS Report). The numbers open our eyes to some deep underlying problems in America’s workplaces. 

Here are some key highlights from the JOLTS Report*. Food for thought definitely!

Job Openings Vs Hires

On the last business day of September, the number of job openings remained at 10.4 million (not much of a change) while the hires were only 6.5 million. The Healthcare and social assistance sector topped the job openings with 141000 jobs posted followed by State & Local government (+114,000), wholesale trade (+51,000) and Information (+51,000). 

While overall hiring numbers too remained little changed, the Healthcare sector topped the charts in hiring as well. 


Total separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. The number of quits increased in September to a series high of 4.4 million (+164,000). The quits rate also increased to a series high 3.0 percent. Quits increased in several industries with the largest increases in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000). Quits decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000). 

A year and a half into a pandemic that shook the world, we are seeing the number of people quitting their jobs steadily rising. In the midst of this calamity, it looks like there arose an awakening of sorts where people have begun to see and exercise their sentiments about work. The pandemic has driven them to reflect on our life and work and the balance between the two. Is the burnout worth it? Should that toxic work culture be necessarily endured? An epiphany of sorts has come into play and people are fast realizing their expectations out of work are a lot different now. 

That said, this also gives employers a great opportunity to look inwards, focus on the people that have stayed on and give them the best of the experiences possible. Giving the employees a platform to voice their opinions and feelings, actively listening to the thoughts thus expressed and taking action based on these real-time authentic sentiments – this is the future of work. A workplace where the employee’s experience takes the centrestage.