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The Great Resignation: Historical data and a deeper analysis show it’s not as great as screaming headlines suggest

While the numbers of people quitting their jobs in 2021 are higher than normal, a closer look at all the existing data suggests the current trend isn’t as dramatic as news headlines imply.

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Service-focused companies are experiencing some of the highest quit rates. AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

The so-called Great Resignation was one of the top stories of 2021 as “record” numbers of workers reportedly quit their jobs.

The latest figures came out on Jan. 4, 2022, and showed that 4.5 million people voluntarily left their positions in November – an “all-time high,” according to the agency responsible for collecting the data. That’s 3% of the nonfarm workforce, which headlines also proclaimed a record level.

But is it?

The “quit rate” interests me because I wrote my economics doctoral thesis on how people find work. Since then I have been fascinated by how people leave jobs and then find new ones.

Tracking ‘quits’

Data on people quitting comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Each month the bureau runs the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, also known as JOLTS. The bureau interviews about 20,000 businesses and government agencies each month, which it uses to estimate several aspects of the workforce, including the number of people who quit, retired, got hired or got fired.

Since April 2021, the share of nonfarm workers who quit their jobs has been at some of the highest levels recorded by the bureau. In all, nearly 33 million people left their positions over this period, or over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce.

Certainly, that’s a lot of people. But a closer look at all the historical data we have can help put this in some perspective.

One issue is calling the current levels a “record.” The problem is the data only goes back a little over two decades, which means it’s certainly possible that the rate could have been higher at several points in the past. We just don’t know.

For example, during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the U.S. economy was strong, which created many new jobs and opportunities for workers. These are typical precursors to more people quitting their current jobs in search of better pay and benefits. Given that the rate was 2.4% in January 2001 – a month after the quits data begins – it’s not a stretch to imagine it may have been higher than the current level at some point in 2000 or earlier.

Or another time when quits may have been higher was after World War II, when the postwar American economy was booming and the economy was in great flux.

In fact, some data pre-2000 does exist that suggests there are times when the quit rate may have been higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracked the quit rate in the manufacturing sector from 1930 to 1979, when it ended the survey because the industry – which at one time made up as much as 28% of the economy – became less important.

Manufacturing workers, who make things like steel, cars and textiles, were quitting their jobs at a monthly average rate of 6.1% in 1945, compared with the 2.3% recorded for the sector in November 2021.

Since about a third of the U.S. workforce had manufacturing jobs in the late 1940s, this suggests the overall quit rate was likely higher back then.

Putting quits into perspective

A lot of stories have also focused on the absolute number of workers who quit their jobs, such as 4.5 million who quit in November – on a seasonally adjusted basis.

If quits for December 2021 are similar to November, I expect about 47 million people will have voluntarily left their jobs in all of 2021. That would mean about 33% of the total nonfarm workforce quit jobs last year.

Again, that seems like a lot, but a huge swath of the labor force does this every year. In 2019, for example, about 28% of the U.S. workforce quit. JL: nonfarm, or total?

So is quitting higher than normal? For sure. But off the charts enough to earn the moniker of “great”? I don’t think so.

Not all sectors are seeing a wave of quitting

Workers also aren’t quitting in droves across all sectors of the economy. While quits are higher than usual in most industries, a few sectors are responsible for most of the turnover, with some lower than their recent peaks.

The highest quit rate is in accommodation and food services. About 6.9% of people working in hotels, motels, restaurants and bars gave notice in November. While that’s the highest since 2000, voluntary turnover in this sector is usually on the high side – given the nature of the work – and has been above 5% many times over the past two decades.

November’s second-highest quit rate, at 4.4%, was retail trade, which includes workers in stores and shops. Combined, these two relatively low-wage industries accounted for one third of all people who quit that month.

On the other hand, the quit rates for construction, information, finance and insurance and real estate are relatively low and have been higher in the past 21 years.

We can also see from the data that young people make up the biggest share of people switching jobs. Data from ADP, one of the largest payroll processors, breaks down turnover by age. But unlike the JOLTS data, ADP doesn’t learn why someone is no longer working at a company – whether they quit, got fired or something else – so it can track only total turnover.

ADP’s most recent data shows high turnover is concentrated among 16-to-24-year-olds, with a turnover rate almost three times the national average.

High turnover for young workers is not surprising, in my view, because COVID-19 restrictions have canceled many nonwage benefits like after-work socializing and company parties. For younger workers new to the labor force, these types of activities are important in developing company belonging and loyalty. Without them, there are fewer ties binding these workers to a company.

Reducing the quit rate

Nevertheless, just because the quit rate isn’t at a record doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem of too much turnover in the labor market. But that problem appears to predate the pandemic.

High annual quit rates mean many workers are not satisfied with their job’s pay, benefits or working conditions. And that can be a huge waste of time and money for both companies and workers. Hiring and training workers is expensive. And searching for new jobs and switching jobs is physically and emotionally difficult for workers.

Research shows employers can minimize turnover by many different methods, such as by giving workers a sense of purpose, letting them work in self-directed teams and providing better benefits.

[Over 140,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletters to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Individuals thinking about quitting should ideally find another job before quitting. You have a much higher chance of success transitioning from one job to another than trying to jump from unemployment to work.

The next time you hear about the “Great Resignation,” understand it isn’t quite as great as it seems, since large numbers of U.S. workers have been quitting for years.

Jay L. Zagorsky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE

Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

AgTech innovator taps integrated communications and marketing agency to drive global growth and brand awareness
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire…

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Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE

PR Newswire

AgTech innovator taps integrated communications and marketing agency to drive global growth and brand awareness

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Peppercomm, award-winning, strategic and integrated communications and marketing agency, today announced it has been named global PR agency of record for AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI; AGRIW), an AgTech company dedicated to advancing sustainable cultivation and crop processing to yield more nutritious food with limited environmental impact. AgriFORCE selected Peppercomm following a competitive evaluation of several firms.

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, AgriFORCE is poised to disrupt the agriculture industry by building a portfolio of proprietary AgTech solutions to help growers achieve higher quality and more sustainably produced crops, alongside branded products and ingredients that unlock superior nutrition for consumers. With an agreement to acquire Delphy Group BV and a binding LOI to acquire Deroose Plants NV recently announced, the company's strategic and holistic approach aims to address key challenges facing the agriculture industry.

"We're pleased to work with a company that can have a real impact on our food and our planet," said Steve Cody, CEO of Peppercomm. "The global pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine have significantly affected the food supply chain and accelerated the need for solutions to address these extraordinary challenges. AgriFORCE's IP and expertise are coming to the marketplace at just the right time."

Peppercomm will help AgriFORCE build global brand awareness through an integrated approach that includes strategic counsel, messaging development, thought leadership, earned media and social media, and digital advertising. 

"AgriFORCE is excited to partner with Peppercomm as our agency of record," shared Mauro Pennella, President of AgriFORCE Brands and CMO of AgriFORCE Growing Systems. "Peppercomm has strong experience across agriculture, agtech, and consumer brands, including public companies with multinational operations. We are confident that their tight-knit and senior team, with existing industry and media relationships, can bring to life the vision and purpose of AgriFORCE in the months ahead."

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm, which was recently acquired by Ruder Finn, combines 27 award-winning years of expertise serving blue chip and breakout clients with forward-thinking new service offerings and the freshness of a start-up. This unique mix of experience and energy enables the firm to attract and empower teams with a creative edge, drive, and passion for promoting, protecting, and connecting clients in a fast-changing marketplace. Founded in 1995, Peppercomm has received numerous accolades, including Crain's Best Places to Work in NYC 2021, PRWeek's Best Places to Work 2020, the Agency Elite 100, SABRE Award (Integrated Campaign), PRSA Big Apple (2020, 2019 Winner Integrated Campaign), Platinum PR Awards (Media Relations), PRNews Digital Awards (CSR), the Bulldog PR Awards (Media Relations) and PR Daily's Top Agencies of 2022 among others. For more information visit peppercomm.com.

About AgriFORCE
AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI; AGRIW) is an AgTech company focused on the development and acquisition of crop production know-how and intellectual property augmented by advanced AgTech facilities and solutions. Looking to serve the global market, the Company's current focus is on North America, Europe, and Asia. The AgriFORCE vision is to be a leader in delivering plant-based foods and products through advanced and sustainable AgTech solution platforms that make positive change in the world—from seed to table. The AgriFORCE goal: Clean. Green. Better. Additional information about AgriFORCE is available at: agriforcegs.com.

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Economics

NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS FEEL THEY CAN’T AFFORD THEIR FORMER LIFESTYLE; THREE-FOURTHS ARE SHIFTING GROCERY PURCHASING BEHAVIORS, FINDS NCSOLUTIONS

NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS FEEL THEY CAN’T AFFORD THEIR FORMER LIFESTYLE; THREE-FOURTHS ARE SHIFTING GROCERY PURCHASING BEHAVIORS, FINDS NCSOLUTIONS
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

66% of consumers are more mindful of spending on groceries85% of …

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NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS FEEL THEY CAN'T AFFORD THEIR FORMER LIFESTYLE; THREE-FOURTHS ARE SHIFTING GROCERY PURCHASING BEHAVIORS, FINDS NCSOLUTIONS

PR Newswire

  • 66% of consumers are more mindful of spending on groceries
  • 85% of Americans are concerned or very concerned about inflation
  • 58%  believe the cost of living will be more expensive in the coming year
  • 46% of consumers say they're buying fewer non-essentials
  • 43% seek out sales and promotions to afford their favorite brands 

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly half of Americans (45%) feel like they can't afford their previous lifestyle and 76% of American consumers say their family has changed how they buy food with prices on the rise. In addition, two-thirds (66%) are more mindful of how they are spending their money. These findings are part of a new consumer sentiment survey on inflation commissioned by NCSolutions (NCS), the leading company for improving advertising effectiveness.

Eighty-five percent of Americans are very concerned or extremely concerned about inflation and almost unanimously (93%) they said we're in an inflationary time. On the same economic theme, over half (57%) are concerned about the country's financial situation, while 47% say they're concerned about their family's financial situation. Eight out of 10 or 83% of Americans expect the cost of living will become somewhat more or much more expensive in the coming year. Sixty-five percent of Americans agree with the statement 'my income has not increased as fast at the cost of food, beverage and personal care products.'

"For the second time in a little over two years, consumers are pivoting to new purchasing behaviors at the grocery store," commented Alan Miles, CEO, NCSolutions. "Since the start of the pandemic, they've been swapping their favorite brands for what's available. Today, though, value is the centerpiece more often than availability, consumers are selecting brands and products to stretch their budgets as far as possible. CPG brands that meet customers where they are both in this inflationary moment and as prices ease have the best shot at keeping them for the long-term."

SIX YEARS OF PRICE TRENDS
NCSolutions' proprietary purchase data, which reflects the buying trends of consumers for CPG products, shows an almost 13% price increase on average. In a six-year price trend analysis, we see that price increases in 2022 are pacing at an accelerated rate compared to other years.  The survey findings bear this out with 58% of consumers believing the cost of living will be much more expensive in the coming year and 71% feeling the U.S. economy is declining. 

Six-year Inflation Trend

 

Percentage Inflation Change Year-Over-Year

On a consumer packaged goods category level, there are wide variations in percentage increases.

CONSUMERS REACT TO THE PINCH
Compared to one year ago, six in 10 Americans believe CPG product packaging has gotten smaller but costs the same. Consumers still feel the strain of supply chain issues as 69% say there are fewer items of the same product on the shelves. Thirty-six percent of Americans said there is less variety of  brands available on the shelf today compared with one year ago.

Over half (53%) of American consumers say they find basic food staples more expensive; 40% believe a recession will occur in 2023. For almost half of consumers (46%), this means buying fewer non-essential items on the food aisle, or for 43%, it means buying only the essentials.  Seventy-one percent of Americans say the increased price of groceries is straining their savings. For other American consumers, increased prices on the grocery aisle mean seeking out less expensive brands (45%).  Other ways consumers are coping with the increased price of groceries are loading up the pantry (27%) or freezer (26%) or shopping closer to home (24%).

When it comes to consumers' preferred brands, they have to make tough choices. Sixty percent of consumers seek less expensive alternatives when their favorite brands reach a price beyond their budget. Forty-six percent of consumers plan to go without their favorite brands, and 43% of consumers look for sales to offset the cost. In the survey, respondents could select multiple ways they react.

June 2021 vs. June 2022: Inflation Increases by category

"Though it may be tempting to pull back on advertising, a more effective strategy is to recognize and respond to consumer 'stress-flation.' Brands have an opportunity now to build loyalty and attract new customers with empathetic marketing," said Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer, NCSolutions. "We're heading into a period of heavy CPG purchasing moments, such as back to school and the approaching holidays. Compelling, well-targeted advertising is a proven strategy for increasing brand equity and sales both in the short- and long-term."

CONSUMER PRIORITIES
Respondents were asked, "When shopping for groceries, which products are most important." The majority ranked:

  1. Affordable products that provide a clear value for my money 
  2. Finding food products that feed their families for several meals
  3. Products they know their families will enjoy eating

ABOUT THE CONSUMER SURVEY: The online survey of 2,141 respondents was fielded from June 17- 20, 2022.  Responses presented in this survey were weighted by location, education, income and other demographics to be representative of the overall population. To read more about the findings, you can download the full report

ABOUT NCS
NCSolutions makes advertising work better. Our unrivaled data resources powered by leading providers combine with scientific rigor and leading-edge technology to empower the CPG ecosystem to create and deliver more effective advertising. With NCS's proven approach, brands achieve continuous optimization everywhere ads appear through purchase-based audience targeting and sales measurement solutions that have impacted billions in media spend for our customers. NCS is a joint venture company with  Nielsen as the majority owner. 

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SOURCE NCSolutions

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Economics

Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The “Legal Services Market” report has been added to SpendEdge’s…

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Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Legal Services Market" report has been added to SpendEdge's library which is trusted by more than 100 CPOs and 500 category managers who use our insights daily.

The Legal Services market is poised to grow by USD 187.38 Billion, progressing at a CAGR of almost 3.64% during the forecast period

https://spendedge.com/sample-report/process-instrumentation-sourcing-and-procurement-intelligence-report

Key Highlights Offered in the Report:

  • Information on how to identify strategic and tactical negotiation levels that will help achieve the best prices.
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  • Methods to help engage with the right suppliers and discover KPIs to evaluate incumbent suppliers.

Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment.

Some of the Top Legal Services suppliers listed in this report:

This Legal Services procurement intelligence report has enlisted the top suppliers and their cost structures, SLA terms, best selection criteria, and negotiation strategies.

  • Latham and Watkins
  • Allen and Overy
  • Hogan Lovells

Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment:

https://spendedge.com/sample-report/process-instrumentation-sourcing-and-procurement-intelligence-report

Top Selling Report:

  1. Asset Recovery Services - Forecast and AnalysisThe asset recovery services will grow at a CAGR of 9.49% during 2021-2025. Asia Asset Recovery Pte Ltd., TES-Amm Singapore Pte Ltd., and Iron Mountain Inc. are among the prominent suppliers in the asset recovery services market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  2. Vulnerability Management Sourcing and Procurement ReportVulnerability Management Procurement Market, prices will increase by 4%-6% during the forecast period and suppliers will have moderate bargaining power in this market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  3. Business Process Outsourcing Services- Sourcing and Procurement Intelligence ReportThis report offers key advisory and intelligence to help buyers identify and shortlist the most suitable suppliers for their Legal Services. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.

To access the definite purchasing guide on the Legal Services that answers all your key questions on price trends and analysis:

  • Am I paying/getting the right prices? Is my Legal Services TCO (total cost of ownership) favorable?
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  • Which pricing models offer the most rewarding opportunities?

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Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Market Insights
  • Category Pricing Insights
  • Cost-saving Opportunities
  • Best Practices
  • Category Ecosystem
  • Category Management Strategy
  • Category Management Enablers
  • Suppliers Selection
  • Suppliers under Coverage
  • US Market Insights
  • Category scope
  • Appendix

About SpendEdge:

SpendEdge shares your passion for driving sourcing and procurement excellence. We are the preferred procurement market intelligence partner for 120+ Fortune 500 firms and other leading companies across numerous industries. Our strength lies in delivering robust, real-time procurement market intelligence reports and solutions.

Contacts:

SpendEdge
Anirban Choudhury
Marketing Manager
Ph No:
+1 (872) 206-9340
https://www.spendedge.com/contact-us

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