Fewer Californians quit their job, but workers are still the boss

Has the California worker lost the nerve to quit and ceded control of the workplace back to the boss?

Across California, 376,000 workers left their job voluntarily in October. That’s unchanged from September and 25% below the record-shattering 499,000 quits of February 2022. This was the fewest number of workers telling the boss “I’m done” in 19 months.

The ups and downs of quitting are carefully eyeballed as an indicator of worker confidence in the employment market. Folks usually don’t leave a job without good odds of securing another paycheck. So the fact that California quits declined – U.S. resignations are 11% off their peak, too – might feel like an economic warning signal.

But my trusty spreadsheet’s analysis of October’s federal employment stats tracking California quits shows the resignation slowdown doesn’t mean the worker is giving up much of their workplace muscle.

Yes, quitting a job – the workplace rage in the pandemic era – isn’t as popular as it once was.

October’s quits equaled 2.1% of all California workers. That’s the seventh-lowest share among the states and down from 2.4% a year earlier. Nationally, 2.6% of workers quit in October, off from 2.8% 12 months earlier. So less quitting isn’t just a Golden State thing.

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