Apr 26, 2023 - News

Job switching in the Great Resignation boosted pay for Minnesotans

Illustration of a dollar sign with an arrow for a middle bar over a grid.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The workers who quit their jobs during the Great Resignation found much higher wages with their new employer, according to recently published research.

Why it matters: Minnesota workers who switched jobs saw their pay increase more than inflation, according to research by the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development.

  • That was especially true for young people, lower-income workers, and people of color. Even workers in those cohorts who didn’t switch jobs saw their real wages increase, though not as much.

By the numbers: Job switchers saw their wages increase 5.4% on average, adjusted for inflation, per DEED.

  • Meanwhile, average wages for workers who stayed put declined by 1.9%, adjusted for inflation.

What they're saying: The recovery from the pandemic recession "lifted some boats, and it was the boats that needed it the most," DEED researcher Alessia Leibert told Axios. "It's a good thing for wage equality."

Yes, but: The concerning trend is that while younger job switchers were getting big pay increases, older workers who stayed in their jobs saw their real wages decline, which was not the case before inflation started skyrocketing.

  • Leibert said declining real wages for older workers is leading to early retirements, further constraining the state's workforce. Employers need to do more to keep those experienced employees, she said.
  • "Incentivize them to stick around," she said. "Don't cut them off from promotions or training opportunities."

Reality check: The Great Resignation ended up being pretty small in Minnesota, per the DEED data.

  • The number of people quitting their jobs between summer 2021 and summer 2022 was only about 2 percentage points higher than a comparable period in 2018-2019.
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