A record number of workers voluntarily left their jobs in November, CNBC reports, according to the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
The aptly-named quits level jumped to 4.53 million that month, an 8.9 percent increase from October. The November level also surpassed September's previous record of 4.36 million, writes CNBC; when analyzed as a percentage of the workforce, "the quits rate of 3 percent matched September's mark."
The November quits rate was also "the most in the two decades that the government has been keeping track," notes The New York Times.
Resignations were highest among restaurant and bar workers, retail workers, arts and recreation workers, and professional and business services, per The Washington Post. For example, "nearly 7 percent of restaurant and bar workers changed or quit jobs in November; 4.4 percent of retail workers did," the Post notes. Health-care employees also drove much of the surge.
Important to note is that these workers were not leaving the labor force when quitting their roles; rather, they were most likely taking advantage of an incredibly tight job market in which they have incredible leverage.
"These are not quits from the labor force, but quits from lower paying jobs to higher paying jobs, from less prestigious jobs to better, more prestigious jobs, from less flexible jobs to more flexible jobs," ZipRecruiter economist Julia Pollak told the Post.
On that same note, the employment index rose 0.9 percentage points to 54.2 percent in "a sign that hiring remains strong" despite displacements in the market, writes CNBC.
Of course, November's report does not account for the arrival of the Omicron variant, meaning things could change once the new, highly infectious COVID strain is factored in.