The states where the most Americans quit their jobs in October as the labor shortage lingered
- Colorado boasted the highest quit rate in October as the labor shortage charged forward.
- Nationally, 4.2 million people walked out of their jobs in October, the third-largest monthly total ever.
- Recent data shows hiring slowing in November, signaling the labor shortage will last well into 2022.
Some 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in October. A new report shows which states are struggling the most through the labor shortage and which ones are charging ahead with labor market recoveries.
Data published last week suggests the labor shortage will linger well into the new year. Job openings rebounded to 11 million, landing just shy of record highs as businesses' demand for workers remained strong. Quits declined from a record 4.4 million in September but still came in at the third-highest count in history of the series. With November payroll growth badly missing forecasts, rehiring is likely to stay difficult.
Only 12 states saw significant drops in their quit rates, according to state-specific Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Friday. Hawaii saw the most improvement, with its rate falling by 3.8 percentage points. New Hampshire and Montana followed with quit-rate declines of 1.1 points and 0.9 points, respectively.
But where quitting eased, several states saw even more job openings go unfilled in October. Openings rates rose significantly in 16 states and only declined significantly in two states as millions of Americans remained on the job market's sidelines. Hawaii's opening rate shot 3.5 percentage points higher, marking the largest one-month increase of any state in October. Kentucky's rate climbed 1.2 points to 8.4%, tying with Michigan for the country's second-highest openings rate that month.
Hawaii, as an interesting case, had the country's highest quit rate and the lowest openings rate the month prior. October's trends bring the state more in line with the rest of the country's activity.
US quitting was more united in October
Though many states' quit rates remain well above pre-pandemic norms, the Friday report showed states looking more alike in their quitting situations.
For one, Montana and Nevada both showed major improvements through October. Each state boasted quit rates above 4.2% in September, easily surpassing the rest of the country's figures. Their rates now match the 3.5% levels seen in Texas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
Colorado now stands apart from the pack as the focal point of the Great Resignation. The state's quit rate of 3.8% was the highest in the US in October, though that's still below the September high of 6.6% seen in Hawaii.
Texas was home to the most actual quits through October. About 455,000 people walked out in the state, according to the report. California followed with 396,000 quits, though the state's quit rate of 2.4% is among the nation's lowest.
Several states still struggling to fill openings
Businesses around the US may be doing a better job at retaining the workers they have, but filling open spots remained a challenge in October.
Several states including Alaska, Montana, Kentucky, and Michigan still touted openings rates above 8% in October. That's well above the national pre-crisis average of about 4.5%. Georgia had the country's highest openings rate of 8.6%.
The most populous states featured some of the country's lowest openings rates, though they also remained above the pre-pandemic norm. California and New York touted job openings rates of 6.4% and 5.6%, respectively. Texas had a rate of 6.6%.
California hosted the most openings on a numerical basis, with businesses touting nearly 1.2 million openings in October.
Put simply, few states have been able to fill jobs at the pace seen before the COVID recession. Slow hiring in November suggests the labor-shortage phenomenon will continue to shape the recovery in 2022. Despite the economy rebounding well, it's "unclear" when the worker shortage will end, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday.
"We don't have a strong labor force participation recovery yet, and we may not have it for some time," he added.