Bet You Aren't Going to Quit Your Job

The Labor Department's "quits rate" shows a nation of workers unwilling to split from their jobs.

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I'll bet you jumped all over the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover report this morning. Read it cover to cover. Memorized the figures. So let's talk about the quits rate, and how American workers suddenly aren't going anywhere.

The quits rate is the number of people who have quit jobs as a percentage of total employment. The number of monthly quits has been dropping since December 2006 and the rate is now at 1.5 percent--its lowest point since the data series began eight years ago.

Workers know this isn't the time to voluntarily become unemployed--and there are certainly fewer being hired away than before the recession began. Still, the February rates stayed pretty much on par with the previous month.

The same BLS release also reports the number of job openings. There were 3 million job openings in February--compared with 2.9 million in January, and 4.2 million in February 2008.

With 12.5 million Americans unemployed in February, this ratio of job seekers to openings left much to be desired.


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