Nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites quit their jobs in August, that’s a record

Economic indicators

Last updated on October 25th, 2021 at 02:26 pm

The number of Americans quitting their jobs surged to 4.27 million in August and new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests Wisconsin workers were part of that trend.

The bureau estimates 97,000 people quit their jobs in Wisconsin in August, the most for any month in seasonally adjusted data going back to December 2000.

The data comes from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The BLS previously only released monthly data from the survey on a national level but has now developed state level data as well. The August data, released Friday, marks the first monthly release for state data. The data was previously released as a three-month moving average.

Prior to this year, the state had only topped 70,000 quits in a month nine times since 2000. There have now been more than 70,000 quits in every month since April.

The rate of quits, measured as a percent of overall employment in the state, reached 3.4% in August, tied for ninth highest in the country. Wisconsin had only topped a 2.5% quit rate three times since 2000 prior to this year but has now done it in four straight months.

Three of Wisconsin’s neighboring states did see higher quit rates in August with Indiana and Iowa at 3.6%, and Illinois at 3.5%. Michigan came in at 3.1% and Minnesota had a 2.6% quit rate.

Non-seasonally adjusted data shows a worse picture for employers with 109,000 quits in Wisconsin, a 3.8% rate.

Job openings in August totaled 214,000 in seasonally adjusted data, slightly off from their peak of 230,000 in July but still well above the pre-pandemic average from 2019 of 153,000.

The job opening rate was 6.9% in August, down from 7.4% in July. It averaged 4.9% in 2019. Wisconsin’s job opening rate for August tied for 24th highest in the country.

Only Michigan had a higher rate among neighboring states at 7.2%. Iowa was the lowest at 5.9% followed by Illinois at 6.3%, Minnesota at 6.4% an Indiana at 6.5%.

Wisconsin’s hire rate was one of the lowest in the country at 3.6%, ranking 46th. Iowa tied with Wisconsin and Minnesota was even lower at 3.4%. Michigan performed the best amongst neighboring states at 5%, followed by Indiana at 4.6% and Illinois at 4.1%.

Employers in Wisconsin hired 105,000 people, according to seasonally adjusted data, down from 127,000 in July. The state is averaging 114,000 hires per month this year through August. Pre-pandemic, Wisconsin averaged around 110,000 hires per month in 2019.

The hire rate of 3.6% was down from 4.4% in June and July. For the year, the state has averaged a hire rate of 4%, up from 3.7% in 2019.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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