Jan 24, 2022 - News

Georgia is for quitters (and help wanted ads, apparently)

Illustration of increasingly desperate "now hiring" signs
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Looking for the epicenter of the Great Resignation? Head to the restaurant down the street.

  • For the last several months of 2021, Georgia saw some of the highest quit and hiring (and firing) rates in the country, according to state economist Jeffrey Dorfman.

Why it matters: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs opening and labor turnover report (or JOLTS) paints a picture of the state’s economic health plus insights into any imbalances in the labor market.

Context: In August 2021, Georgia ranked first in the nation for the percentage of workers quitting, second for employers giving out pink slips, third for job openings, and fourth for hiring, Dorfman told the joint appropriations committee during budget hearings last week.

  • Data released Friday says in October, the most recent revised data, the state’s quit rate slipped a few spots, along with some other indicators, but all measures remain in the top five or top 10.

Between the lines: Employers are bringing on new workers at the same rate they’re quitting or being fired, Dorfman told lawmakers.

  • “Our employers are working really hard just to sort of tread water to keep the number of employees and job openings even,” the University of Georgia economist said. “We just can’t get ahead because there’s so much churn in the job market. People see so many jobs that look good, they figure, they’ll try that and get a raise.”

What we’re watching: The most recent data says Georgia is near the top for job openings, which Dorfman tells Axios is thanks to, among other reasons, Georgia not shutting down during the COVID pandemic and companies relocating or expanding their businesses here.

  • More available jobs means people have more incentive to quit their current gigs, Dorfman says. That’s a lot of farewell parties and orientation meetings.
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