Americans are quitting at record rates. These 5 states are leading the pack.

Published: January 23, 2022 4:14 PM EST
A shopper passes a hiring sign while entering a retail store in Morton Grove, Ill., Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Despite an uptick in COVID-19 cases and a shortage of available workers, the U.S. economy likely enjoyed a burst of job growth last month as it bounces back with surprising vigor from last year’s coronavirus shutdown. The Labor Department’s July jobs report Friday, Aug. 6 is expected to show that the United States added more than 860,000 jobs in July, topping June’s 850,000, according to a survey of economists by the data firm FactSet. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A record number of American workers quit their jobs before the holidays, but the trend wasn’t evenly spread across the nation. According to new government data, employees in a handful of states handed in their resignations at a much higher rate than the national average.

About 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November, an all-time high. The government said earlier this month. But on Friday, the Labor Department provided a state-by-state peek at where workers are quitting, noting that 22 states experienced an increase in the so-called “quits rate” in November, while only two states experienced a decline in worker resignations.

The states with the highest quits rates are those experiencing tight labor markets and low unemployment rates — exactly the combination that’s causing employers to dangle incentives like higher wages and better benefits to lure new workers to their open jobs and keep the ones they already have. It’s all part of the so-called “Great Resignation,” which is marked by workers leaving their current jobs for several reasons, ranging from starting their own businesses to opting for early retirement.

Typically, workers are more likely to secure better pay if they switch jobs rather than remain in their current position, said Liz Wilke, principal economist at payroll provider Gusto, speaking about the overall quits rate.

“Part of what is driving the quits rate is it’s not that common to get an increase from their current employer  — it’s more common that you leave your employer for a better deal,” Wilke noted.

She added, “The areas that tend to have the highest level of quits are those with the lowest unemployment rate.”

That’s the case with November’s data, where four of the top 5 states by quits rate have the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.