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Job Quits Level Off Despite Falling Unemployment

USA Today (11/25/15) Paul Davidson

Around 2.7 million Americans quit jobs in September, holding steady for the past 13 months even as the unemployment rate dropped from 5.9% to 5.1% over the same period, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. A large number of quits generally signals a dynamic economy in which workers feel confident about leaving one job for another, so economists are concerned that the figure has barely budged. The number of quits rose from 1.7 million to 2.7 million from early 2010 to late 2014, and the number of quits was around 3 million during a similar point in the last recovery in late 2005.

Economists believe modest wage growth is among the reasons employees are not as confident in the labor market right now. However, in the maturing recovery, Jeffrey Cohn of the executive search firm DHR International says companies are seeking workers with more specialized skills, and Paul McDonald of Robert Half says job candidates increasingly are more interested in training and a promising career path than stability or higher pay.