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  • Rob Houghton

The Great Resignation: A Surprising Update!


Several months ago, I did several blogs and a YouTube video discussing the topic of The Great Resignation. It is a big part of why salaries for insurance professionals, in particular, are up 9.1% over the same period last year.


Let’s revisit this new social dynamic that arrived on the scene in 2021 during COVID.


Here are some surprising statistics to get us started:

· There are currently approximately 11.1 million jobs available.

· There are only six million unemployed workers to fill these jobs.

· The labor participation rate has decreased to 62%. It was 67% just five years ago!

· The participation rate of women has decreased from 70% to only 55% within the past two years. This is mind boggling.

· A staggering 47 million people quit their jobs last year.

· Microsoft commissioned a study earlier in the year that reported that 41% of all workers are considering changing jobs this year.

· McKinsey reported in a similar study that 40% of workers are considering making a move in just three to six months.


These statistics are staggering. Let me put some perspective on things based on some related fact-checking research that I have independently done.


Why the low labor participation rate?


There are many reasons, but COVID enabled people to stop and think about what they really wanted out of life. For many women, it was an opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. And the fact that daycare is over-subscribed and over-priced right now was the last straw for many women to take care of their younger children themselves at home…in addition to the ones who want to homeschool now.


Here is another surprising statistic: Since early 2020, Americans have added an astounding $4 trillion to their savings. Many reaching retirement age simply tossed in the towel and resigned never to return to the workforce.


There are some silver linings in all of this. Workers have finally gained some leverage over their employers, they feel more valued, and they are finally getting some decent raises. After all, inflation is running about 9% right now.


I also believe most people would admit that they have had time to reflect on what is most important in life since COVID arrived. Working remotely is one such example. Working remotely has been both a boon to work productivity and allows most people to spend more time with their families. Happy workers = Happy families. Some things never change.


And, of course, there are some negatives that have emerged. Once labor force participation has decreased in the past, it has never reversed and increased once again. Our country’s labor participation rate of 60% is dangerously low. Young people will probably never have Social Security simply because of all the couch potatoes who have decided not to work anymore. Most believe it will be gone within 15 years…then what?


And then there are the non-working men out there. What are they doing with their free time? Are they starting small businesses? Involved in entrepreneurial enterprises? Most are not. They are watching screens…video and television screens. They are glued to their smartphones checking social media. Playing video games. I could go on. One thing is for certain: They are not being empowered or enabled to do something productive or innovative. They aren’t finding themselves.


They are not even looking.


Thanks for reading. Until next week, stay safe.


Rob

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