People are quitting - Why that may be a good thing

Exit Sign

Optimistic Americans are quitting their jobs, says the Wall Street Journal. This could be good, but employers are not hiring enough to balance it.

The percentage of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs-or "quit rate"-hit a high of 1.8 percent in November, up from a low of 1.2 percent in September 2009, according to Labor Department statistics included in the article.

The rise in job quitting implies workers are likely more optimistic about their career prospects - a good sign for the health of the overall economy. Job changes account for a significant degree of overall wage increases over the course of a career.

Turnover also tends to improve the efficiency of the labor market. It allows both workers and employers more opportunities to match skill sets with available jobs, while freeing up space for younger workers or other job seekers.

(Read more: See which US industry has jobs-and wants women )

But hiring numbers are still lagging , and economists say a lot of the new jobs are in industries with high turnover and low pay, such as restaurants and retail. If new hires in other industries do no pick up, the labor market could yet stagnate and depress wages.

To read the full story in the Wall Street Journal, click here. (Paywall)

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