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Over 500,000 New Yorkers Have Quit Their Jobs

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New York state saw hundreds of thousands of people quit their jobs during the first three months of the year, which some experts say could be an indication that workers are confident that they can find new employment in a labor market that offers opportunities for new work.

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In the three months to start 2024, 510,000 New Yorkers left their jobs, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of March 2024, the quitting rate in the state was at 2 percent. This is a tick lower than the national rate of 2.1 percent.

Compared to the three months to start 2023, the number of people who quit their jobs rose slightly. Last year 495,000 left their places of employment, BLS data revealed in that period. The resignation rate by March of last year was at 1.7 percent.

The sun sets on the skyline of midtown Manhattan in New York City on April 13, 2024. Data shows that thousands of New York state workers quit their jobs during the first three months of…


Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

The Context

Policymakers in the state have recently suggested that four years after the worst of the pandemic-induced economic recession, where New York suffered the effects of the coronavirus that led to strict lockdowns, the state’s labor market has managed to recoup jobs lost at the height of the crisis.

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In April 2020, the unemployment rate soared to 15.6 percent. As of March 2024, the number of private sector jobs was at 8.35 million with the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent, data from the state’s Labor Department shows.

There were a total of 1.56 million job openings in the state in the three months through March 2024. The job openings rate was close to the national level of 5.1 percent, according to BLS data.

Views

People quitting their jobs tends to be a sign that they are confident that they can find new work and is an indicator of a strong labor market for workers.

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“If they quit their job, they must have found a new job,” Helana Natt, executive director at the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, told Newsweek. “It says that the economy is booming.” The chamber represents 30,000 business and civic leaders in the New York metropolitan area.

Ken Girardin, research director at Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany in New York state, suggested that people quitting their jobs shows that people in the downstate parts of the state were feeling good about the economy. However, in upstate New York, it could be that people were leaving their work and migrating elsewhere.

“Those quits are more likely because people feel confident in the downstate economy,” he told Newsweek. “I’d say upstate, those quits are probably are more likely to be associated with people moving out of state.”

What’s Next?

Girardin suggested that going forward, the state was still be in recovery mode from the COVID and said the state may fall behind other parts of the country.

“But normal before COVID was slower than average growth,” he noted. “The contrast between other states and New York is going to increase overtime.”

For Natt, things look more positive for the state if people continue to feel confident about quitting their jobs.

“If that many people are quitting a job, that’s a good thing, because they’re not quitting a job and not working,” she said. “They’re probably getting a different job or they went back to school or they’re doing other things.”