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June 30, 2022
You ever been on social media, saw a post that you felt was outrageous, tried to ignore it, but just couldn’t contain yourself?
Baaaby, I’m usually pretty good at giving an eye roll at my screen and keeping it moving.
I barely comment. But last year, someone I know personally was drumming on and on about how, “Businesses are closing because people don’t wanna work.” They even brought up how people were getting unemployment benefits and [scamming] PPP loans.
I’m like, first of all, employees and employers have a business relationship. Secondly, people are still working. Thirdly, people aren’t obligated to work for any company just because you believe the company “pays good '' and “might close '' due to a lack of workers. Lastly, were you hating on all the PPP money & handouts corporations got?
Nope. Didn’t think so.
This exchange happened in early 2021. Before all the headlines about the Great Resignation and a hot job market.
During that time, economists, politicians, and- as illustrated above- lay people thought individuals weren’t working because of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. But even when both of those sources of income dried up- guess what?
People kept on quitting their jobs.
Now, the narrative has transitioned to: people are quitting and the U.S. is seeing record job openings. Yet, the unemployment rates now, are very similar to what they were prior to the pandemic.
Which begs the question? Are people employed, unemployed, just out there existing?
According to the June 3rd jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate was 3.6%. The total unemployed was 6 million with 1.4 million claims for unemployment. The unemployment rate in June, 2019 was 3.6%. The total unemployed was 5.9 million with 1.8 million claims for unemployment.
As more news stories were released about the Great Resignation, in comment sections online, I repeatedly saw the same question regarding those who’d resigned.
How are people making money?
Individuals are asking this question for a couple reasons. One: they're nosy! Two: they've considered -or they’re considering- leaving their own jobs and they're not sure how.
And, people who are on the fence about quitting, want to know that if they do, there's a viable way to take care of themselves financially.
This is [one reason] why the Great Resignation is such a big deal. In the U.S., not only is your livelihood tied to your job, in most instances, so is health insurance. If we’re to presume that all of these “resigners” have bills and need medical benefits, then what’s going on here?
What many of these videos and some articles (especially the earlier ones) about the Great Resignation fail to acknowledge is that most people aren't just sitting at home.
Here are some common ways people take care of themselves after leaving their jobs.
The vast majority of individuals who quit their jobs are actually working! The narrative has been framed that people simply quit. But that’s a myth. Workers are seizing this opportunity of employment abundance to find jobs that meet their needs. Whether it was for better pay, respect, quality of life, or a flexible schedule.
Also, due to so many job openings, workers -especially those who were in service or entry level- now have access to higher paying jobs with better benefits.
The baby boomers are a large part of the workforce.The US Census indicates that the country's population of individuals over 65 has grown significantly since 2010. However, the youngest boomer is around 58 years old. Some decided to take early retirement or were at retirement age. So when we went on lockdown, some boomers didn’t return to work.
Ecommerce has made starting your own business easier than ever. Many people quit their jobs to bet on themselves and their ideas. According to Salesforce, in 2020, 4.4 million people set out on their own to start new businesses.
Even though the scale is tipped in workers favor at the moment, worker sentiment is low. Many people work in the gig economy to supplement their main income. However, there are some individuals who work one or more multiple side hustles as their only income. A December 2021 Pew Research article surveying recent or current gig workers found that at least 31 percent of them had done gig work as their primary means of income in the last 12 months.
People have dipped into their savings to keep themselves afloat. According to The Bureau of Economic Analysis, The U.S. Personal Savings Rate dropped the first four months of 2022. In January, the rate was six percent. By April, it was 4.4 percent.
It's less stressful to quit your job when you know that all of your bills don't fall on you! If you have a significant other who’s working and can shoulder some of the bills, that puts less stress on the “resigner”. Also, having a roommate or living with family also can help alleviate some of the bills.
Even though we’ve seen what appears to be an unprecedented amount of resignations over the last year, it’s clear that most Americans are actually working jobs. What’s become evident is that workers are refusing to accept the status quo. They’re using this moment to find the best employment path for them. Have you quit your job? If so, was it planned or unplanned?