A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey has revealed that the number of workers voluntarily leaving jobs is “near a five-year high”; in February, around 2.26 million Americans quit. Many of those people are transitioning into freelance work or returning to school.
In a March speech, a Federal Reserve official said that the increase was a sign that workers are growing more confident, and that the job market is improving.
Job openings are also up, in another optimistic signal. These employment-related economic signs indicate actual improvements in Americans’ lives, in contrast to stock market-related news which can feel entirely disconnected from workers’ struggles.
The positive numbers also belie the single most troubling aspect of our current economy: the 4.6 million Americans who have been unemployed for 6 months or more. When a worker has been out of a job for that long, it becomes perversely hard to get a new one; recruiters discriminate against joblessness.