“Never give up” is a popular motivational saying and appropriate in many situations. However, one area where giving up and quitting would be good is in regards to labor market mobility. Quitting a job is often a sign that better opportunities are cropping up elsewhere. After all, America is the land of opportunity and new businesses get created and succeed. Apple and Google would not be what they are today if current employees had not quit their prior jobs to work there.
When the fire rate rises (an involuntary action), home sales fall, but when the quit rate rises (a voluntary action), home sales rise. Fortunately the quit rate is slowly making a comeback even though ‘quitting’ still remains well below the level commensurate with healthy economic conditions.
One sector where more workers are needed or will be needed in the upcoming years is in the construction sector as homebuilders ramp up production. Fortunately for homebuilders, construction workers are not quitting.
Finally as an interesting observation, there is a frequently-run TV/radio commercial in the Washington D.C. region where a parrot says “I can’t take it anymore, I can’t take it anymore,” in evident repeat of a statement by the bird’s owner after coming home from work. Given that Washington has a higher than normal proportion of government employees, perhaps many of the dissatisfied government workers somehow cannot take any more of the lousy and uninspiring government work environment. Interestingly though, the quit rate among government employees is significantly lower than the private sector. Whereas government employees comprise 16 percent of all workers, the quits by government employees make up only 6 percent of all quits. The conclusion to be drawn is that government employees may not like their jobs but would never actually quit because of the nice pension staring at them in a few years.