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Data: BLS, FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Demand for labor seems to be getting stronger, and workers are taking advantage by quitting.

Why it matters: Businesses are scrambling to fill job openings as they try to catch up with booming demand.

  • Many companies are aggressively raising wages to recruit, which has resulted in workers quitting their old jobs for better opportunities.

By the numbers: 3.87 million workers quit their jobs in June, according to the BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This is close to the record, set in April, of 3.99 million.

  • This represents 2.7% of the workforce in June, which is also just below April’s record rate of 2.8%.
  • Quits as a percentage of total separations — which includes layoffs, firings and retirements — reached 69.3% in June. This measure, also known as the “take this job and shove it” indicator is at an all-time high.

What they’re saying: "People tend to leave their jobs when they find a better opportunity, and we think part of the high quits rate reflects the massive suburbanization trend that started during the pandemic," DataTrek Research co-founder Jessica Rabe tells Axios.

Zoom out: Many of these folks are accounted for in the 6.72 million hirings that occurred during the month.

  • But the fact that job openings still set a new record of 10.07 million during the period speaks to how strong the demand for labor continues to be.
  • For context, there were 9.48 million unemployed workers during the period.

In other words, there were more job openings than unemployed workers, a dynamic that hasn't occurred since before the pandemic.

The bottom line: "Labor demand keeps getting stronger," Indeed Hiring Lab economic research director Nick Bunker writes.

  • "Job seekers, both jobless and employed, are taking advantage of this situation with job switching near historic levels and nominal wages growing quickly. The question now is by how much and how quickly will this situation fade."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 18, 2021 - Economy & Business

Deere workers end strike after approving new contract

Factory workers picket outside of the John Deere Davenport Works facility in Davenport, Iowa, in October. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some 10,000 unionized Deere & Company workers ended their monthlong strike Wednesday after ratifying a new contract offer by a vote of 61% to 39%, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The first labor strike at the John Deere tractors maker since 1986 symbolizes the effect the pandemic has had on the economy and workers, as almost two years of COVID-19 measures including lockdowns spurred many employees to campaign for better conditions, per the Washington Post.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2022. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."