People Keep Quitting Their Jobs Even as Recession Fears Mount

US workers can’t quit quitting.

Two years into the Great Resignation, which saw an unprecedented number of workers change jobs during the pandemic, the economy has shifted. Inflation is running hot. Recession fears are growing. The stock market is turbulent. Yet workers continue to ditch their jobs in record numbers — many knowing full well that the outlook is beginning to dim.

In the latest data, 4.4 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in April alone. That’s among the highest levels in figures going back to 2000. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down: a third of American workers said they were considering quitting in the next six to 12 months, according to a recent survey by human-resources firm Mercer.

The quitting continues despite the fact that leaders at some of America’s largest companies have been warning of “very, very high risk” of recession and an economic “hurricane.” There are also early signs of a shift in the labor market, with employers ranging from the Winklevoss twins to Elon Musk talking of hiring freezes and layoffs.

That’s not stopping Alma Molina, a 36-year-old political strategist living in Washington, D.C., who recently quit her job to take a sabbatical.

Like many who have quit at this later stage of the Great Resignation, Molina had hindsight on her side. She’d seen other departures — some sudden, some sad, others rash — and knew she wanted to leave in a way that would help her career and her lifestyle. Recession was a consideration, she said, but she’s confident she can weather whatever comes.