According to the Department of Labor's recent Job Opening and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLT), the number of voluntary job departures has risen since August 2009 and the number of people quitting now outnumbers those being laid off.
The most significant quit levels can be seen in financial services and professional and business services, but people are quitting across a variety of industry sectors including manufacturing, retail, real estate, construction, and hospitality.
While the summary notes, "quits tend to rise when there is a perception that another job is available and tend to fall when there is a perception that jobs are scarce," it is doubtful that this applies to people quitting now, given current market conditions.
So why are people quitting in this economy? Here are a few possibilities:
1. They found a job that paid better.
They took their jobs in 2008 when the market soured and they compromised to earn a paycheck. They continued searching for other positions and now their hard work has paid off and they have found another position with better pay.
2. They were tired of being worked to the bone.
Heavy layoffs occurred and they were forced to do more with less. Working in an environment that lacks the appropriate resources to get the job done is bound to take its toll. Many employers have not adequately engaged their employees or rewarded them with non-monetary incentives during the lean years -- and as a result, some are now losing their star players.
3. Theirwas working.
They kept in touch with recruiters, built a strong network, or regularly checked leads on job boards. And found offers they couldn't refuse. Or, there was a ripple effect: When other employees left their jobs for any of the voluntary reasons on this list, it opened up an opportunity for someone else to come in and take their place.
4. The stress of theiroutweighed the stress of no paycheck.
The stress of managing the relationship outweighed the stress of a job search, and they felt it was better to quit than potentially be fired and risk a bad reference due to a deteriorating relationship.
5. Their health was in jeopardy.
They developed health issues that were exacerbated by the job, and they determined that the only way to redeem their health was to resign from the position and take care of their physical issues.
6. They were not engaged in their work.
They came to the realization that they weren't learning anythingand their chances for upward mobility were limited. Rather than waste away slowly, they made the decision to act on their concerns and re-channel their energy into finding a new, more rewarding position.
7. The company was tanking.
They saw the writing on the wall that even though they had a job today, they may not have one tomorrow. Getting out while they could still collect on whatever benefits and perks they were entitled to seemed like a better plan than waiting until the company had nothing to give them.
8. The company bought them out.
The employer knew they may be facing a downsizing in the near future, so they offered employees an enticing compensation package to voluntarily resign. Voluntary packages generally come with some sort of financial guarantee, which tend to diminish with each new round of offers. Employees who choose to wait out the employer's rough patch can end up with nothing. Many would rather take the money and run than wait and see where the chips will land.
9. Things got personal.
They left to start a family, take care of aging parents, travel around the world, relocate, or make a career change. Responsibilities to others or listening to an inner calling often fuel resignations.
10. They became their own boss.
They were motivated to start their own business due to dissatisfaction in their jobs or because they were ready to turn a personal passion into a new career and business.