About 4.5 million people quit their jobs in March at a rate of 3%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number represents a series high and an increase from January and February.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, resignations in retail decreased by 13,000 from February 2022 and increased by 146,000 from March of 2021. Compared to February, quits increased in professional and business services by 88,000 and in construction by 69,000.
Total separations were 6.3 million, with layoffs and discharges at around 1.4 million.
At the same time, the number of job openings also reached a series high at 11.5 million as of the last business day of March, up 205,000 from February. March total hires were 6.7 million.
The U.S. economy added 431,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in April. Average hourly earnings rose by 13 cents to $31.73 in March, marking little change from the $31.58 in February. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.6%.
The record high number of quits in March suggest that the “great resignation” across the U.S. workforce is still in full swing. And as more people quit their jobs, labor shortages are becoming an even bigger problem for retailers who need to keep stores staffed.
Some retailers have introduced increased pay, benefits and sign-on bonuses and have held hiring events to attract and retain enough workers to meet consumer demand.
Walmart last month announced new pay raises for its fleet of close to 12,000 truck drivers and a “Private Fleet Development Program” to train new associates. According to Walmart, truck drivers can now make up to $110,000 in their first year with the company, with the chance to earn even more over time. In February, Target announced a new starting hourly wage range of $15 to $24 for hourly employees in stores, supply chain facilities and corporate headquarters.