Colorado workers are quitting their jobs at the state’s highest rate in the past two decades, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
One in 23 Colorado workers quit their job in September, according to a preliminary report, pushing the state’s quit rate to fourth among all states in the country.
Ryan Gedney, senior economist at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said that as the economy improves and unemployment declines, it makes sense that more people are leaving their jobs.
“I wouldn’t consider the dropout rate to be a bad thing,” Gedney said. “I think the churn rate and work dynamics are healthy, and that only reflects people looking for other job opportunities.”
Colorado’s resignation rate, following national trends, fell in early 2020 as pandemic-related stay-at-home orders were issued and unemployment skyrocketed.
Now, as the economy reopens, Colorado employers are looking to fill a historically high number of job openings, creating opportunities for workers looking for better pay or a change.
Gedney has said that many times the quit rate reflects people who quit their jobs and immediately take a new one, “So it’s just about moving from one job to the next. And sometimes it could actually be good for the economy in terms of matching the right person with the right kind of job. ”
It’s unusual for so many workers to quit their jobs when unemployment is so high, but Gedney said comparing job vacancies to unemployed is more helpful.
“For September, the openings-to-jobless ratio for Colorado was one,” Gedney said. “So that means that for every job offer, there is at least one unemployed person who could theoretically fill that position.”
However, the current job market still poses challenges for employers.
Lauren Furman, CEO-elect of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, said difficulty finding child care centers and concerns about the virus could prevent some workers from returning to work, leaving employers short of staff.
“If a business cannot continue to operate at its highest capacity and produce certain goods, or cannot obtain certain goods, then those costs will increase for consumers,” Furman said.
Some businesses, especially restaurants, have also cut their hours due to labor shortages.
Detailed reports on which industries workers are leaving will not be available until next summer, but nationally, the highest quit rates have been recorded in leisure and hospitality, including hospitality services. catering and retail. In Colorado, the accommodation and food services workforce grew by about 65,400 workers, accounting for about half of the jobs created statewide this year. But the industry still hasn’t fully recovered all the workers it lost during the pandemic.
The October jobs report left Gedney hopeful for the economy. The share of Coloradans aged 16 and over who are now employed has increased for two consecutive months, for the first time since May. Non-farm payroll jobs increased by 10,000 workers, the largest increase since April.
“I certainly think the data reported (last week) was very positive, in terms of Colorado’s path to recovery, and even the nation,” Gedney said. “But yes, we might see high dropout rates for a while. And I think that reflects the fact that the economy is improving, not necessarily that it is deteriorating. ”