Jul 5, 2022 - News

The Great Resignation shows signs of slowing in Utah

Illustration of a suited business person running with a briefcase in each hand.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Fewer Utahns are quitting their jobs, according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What's happening: The rate of workers quitting their jobs dropped faster in Utah than in almost any other state.

  • About 2.9% of Utah workers quit their jobs in April — 1.1% less than the month before.
  • Only Wyoming matched Utah's decline in resignations.

Context: Data released a month ago suggested Utahns were leading the nation in handing in their notice.

  • In March, the state had the fifth-highest quit rate in the U.S. and the nation's biggest month-to-month increase from February.

Zoom out: The high job turnover has allowed workers to seek higher wages and better working conditions.

  • Hourly wages rose nationally by 6.1% in May — the highest rate of wage growth since at least the 1990s, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • But economists expect the number of job openings will level out soon, and Utah’s drop in resignations is consistent with that.
  • That could mean the clock is running on Utah workers' chances to leverage the tight labor market in negotiations.

Meanwhile: Utah's unemployment rate ticked up slightly in April but is still low at 2.2%.

What we're watching: Even as inflation eclipses wage growth, more labor-watchers are urging employers to pay attention to employees' morale, rather than compensation alone, to keep them from quitting.

  • Research from MIT showed a toxic work culture was more than 10 times more powerful than wages in predicting a company’s inability to retain employees.
  • It takes a 20% raise to lure an employee away from a manager that makes them feel enthusiastic and involved, according to data from Gallup — but almost no pay increase to poach a worker who is disengaged from their employer.

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