(NEXSTAR) — Americans left their jobs in record numbers in 2021 in a pandemic-era trend dubbed the “Great Resignation” that has continued into 2022.
A new study by WalletHub compared the quit rate over the past 12 months to that of the past month and found that a number of states appear to be headed in opposite directions, according to Bureau of Labor statistics.
Alaska, the state with the highest 12-month rate (3.98%) dropped to 3.50% in the last month, while the District of Columbia, which had one of the lowest 12-month rates at 1.98%, jumped to 2.60% in the last month.
The number of employees giving notice in 2021 reached historic rates with an average of almost 4 million resignations per month.
“The incentives available from changing jobs, as well as a desire to get away from careers impacted most by COVID-19, are two big factors driving what’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” according to the WalletHub report.
Nick Bunker, research director at the Indeed Hiring Lab, noted that quits were high in the low-wage hotel and restaurant industries. “Lots of quits means stronger worker bargaining power which will likely feed into strong wage gains,″ he said. “Wage growth was very strong in 2021, and … we might see more of the same in 2022.″
States With the Highest Job Resignation Rates
|Rank||State||Resignation Rate (Latest Month)||Resignation Rate (Last 12 Months)|
|46||District of Columbia||2.60%||1.98%|
“The conditions for the Great Resignation simmered in the years leading up to the COVID19 pandemic,” Dr. Anthony Wheeler, dean of Widener University’s school of Business Administration said. “Once the pandemic hit, Boomers retired faster, the GenX segment of the workforce was not large enough to backfill vacated positions, and GenY – already known for their preferences to work outside of the office – did not have the experiences required to fill mid-level management positions or higher.”
Wheeler said he believes the conditions for the Great Resignation had been simmering in the years leading up to the pandemic as Americans increasingly burned themselves out at work.
“Americans notoriously take their work home and fail to disconnect from work even while on vacation,” Wheeler said. “Finally, during the Trump Administration, legal immigration, which has underpinned the US’s ability to attract a talented workforce, dramatically decreased.”
Wheeler said he expects the workforce to contract through this decade and into the next, adding that technology will likely fill unemployment gaps in the years ahead.
(Information from the Nexstar Media Wire; The Associated Press contributed to this report.)