Why is everyone quitting, and how do I know whether it’s time to leave my job?

Waves of Americans are leaving their jobs as part of the ‘Great Resignation.’ Here’s why.

An LA Conservation Corps recruiter interacts with job seekers during a job fair this month in Los Angeles. A surge in the number of people quitting jobs is compounding a national labor shortage. (Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
8 min

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 4.4 million people — about 3 percent of the nation’s workforce — quit in September, according to Labor Department data released Friday. It marked back-to-back records, coming off the 4.3 million recorded in August. 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.

Perspective | A record number of Americans are quitting their jobs. Here’s how they make money after they quit.