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The Great Resignation: The People Have Had Enough

Wednesday, November 03, 2021 03:06 PM | Neal Farmer
The Great Resignation: The People Have Had Enough

The global pandemic caused by the coronavirus has had countless effects on the world.

It has had devastating effects in taking the lives of millions. It has also accelerated the evolution of the global economy in becoming more technologically focused, and dependent, with many workers now doing their jobs remotely as a result.

One additional unforeseen impact it has had on the jobs market is the start of what many economists are calling the “Great Resignation”.

What is the Great Resignation?

More and more workers are quitting their jobs. The number of individuals who left their job in a single month hit record highs in April, then July, and finally August. “Quits” are rising almost across the board and especially in the leisure and hospitality industry. This has been seen across many “less desirable” positions that have left businesses like fast-food chains scrambling to find workers.

The primary reasons for people leaving their jobs and seemingly being unwilling to accept similar positions comes down to two factors: stimulus measures and patience.

Benefits

A large reason for this movement of not accepting previous low-tier jobs comes from benefits associated with stimulus packages passed in response to the pandemic. This aggressive fiscal stimulus undoubtedly helped keep the economy afloat in the wake of COVID-19 and also gave people the freedom to look for better jobs.

In addition to increased and extended unemployment benefits, stimulus such as the pandemic-relief checks, rent moratorium, and loan forgiveness gave people more time to look for positions they wanted instead of having to take the first job they could find.

Young, lower-income earners had more time to find positions they want and in more areas as so many opportunities now allowed for remote work. Being able to work remotely even led to many young workers not having to live in a city anymore and could perhaps live with their parents while looking for work or even while working, allowing for even more patience as concerns like making rent became less serious.

Patience

That patience and attitude of being able to find something better has absolutely crushed lower-paying jobs. Many fast-food restaurants and other chains have had to raise the hourly wage in order to attract workers as people are just unwilling to accept these positions that barely cover necessary costs and aren’t exactly enjoyable jobs. Even further, these kinds of positions offer minimal upward mobility compared to internships and other entry-level jobs.

People are unwilling to accept these extremely low-paying jobs and whether that was a result of unemployment benefits exceeding the pay of these positions or not, this change in behavior doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. More and more companies are going to have to go the route of Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and many others in order to attract workers. There’s a pretty simple answer to employers complaining they can’t find any workers. Raise wages. Increase the pay and the people will come. There’s some concept that covers this relationship. Something about supply? Or was it demand? Maybe something about price equilibrium?

Wrapping Up

Workers choosing to quit jobs isn’t exactly helping the overall economy but it certainly should give some of these companies a wake-up call that people have had enough and are demanding more. Additionally, this is hardly the first time people have gone on strike for better working conditions. Maybe through all the destruction and pain brought by the coronavirus, something positive can come of it.

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