correction

The decline in the unemployment rate was partly due to people leaving the labor force. A previous version of this report said it was largely due to people leaving the labor force.

More people than ever are leaving their jobs.

They seem to come from every industry and span generations. Some are following through on long-deferred plans to leave, no longer willing or able to wait out the pandemic. Others are burned out from too many long shifts, late nights and unspent vacation days. And many say the public health crisis forced them to reassess their jobs and priorities.

Whatever the cause, the rush of resignations is accelerating: A record 4.3 million people — about 2.9 percent of the nation’s workforce — quit in August, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. In September, the nation’s jobless rate fell to a pandemic low of 4.8 percent, but the decline was partly driven by people leaving the labor force. What’s more, Gallup data shows, nearly half of American workers are actively searching for new opportunities.

Here’s what you need to know about the “Great Resignation” — and what to consider before joining in.

What to know

  • Who is driving the Great Resignation?
  • Why are so many workers leaving?
  • What does this mean for the economy?
  • How do I know whether it’s time to leave?
  • How do I exit gracefully?