Workers across the country quit their jobs this year at record rates, but the areas and sectors where most of them left varied. 

The number of Americans who quit their jobs reached record levels in September at 4.4 million, according to data from the federal government. 

According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released earlier this month, the number of job openings didn’t shift much and was at 10.4 million on the final business day of the month of September. However, the rate of people quitting rose. 

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “States in the West, including Hawaii, Montana, Utah and Oregon, saw the largest growth in quits in September, according to the Labor Department. Eighteen states broke or tied their records for quits levels in September.” 

Government data revealed the South, Midwest, and West saw workers leaving their jobs at a higher rate than the Northeast in September.

As Business Insider reported, “the states with the most quits aren’t home to the most openings. Openings rates were the highest in Alaska, Georgia, and Massachusetts in September, according to BLS data.”

In Hawaii, quits rose, but job openings have stayed limited. People were also fired from their jobs because of coronavirus restrictions in the state which seriously impacted the tourism industry of the islands. The number of people in Hawaii either looking for a job or working at one is around 1.4% smaller than at the beginning of the year.

Different sectors were impacted, as well. Educational services experienced the highest rise in quits over the course of this year. Under that label falls teachers, as well as other positions such as school counselors and custodians. Quits in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector also grew by 82% in September from the previous month.

In Montana, there is reportedly the highest concentration of employees working in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry, and the state saw the second quickest rise in quits in September after Hawaii.

The Northeast has also seen a lot of quits since the start of this year, and many of those states have a large number of jobs in education, which some say could be a factor in the movement. 

Illinois has seen a 59% increase in quits since the beginning of the year, and the state is home to many jobs in wholesale trade, which workers have also been leaving. 

“As far as total quits go, Texas came in with the largest increase of 69,000. Roughly 40,000 workers walked out in California, and Colorado saw 25,000 residents quit. To be sure, all three states are among the most populous in the US, and their quit rates aren’t among the country’s highest,” Business Insider added. 

Some point to job openings, specifically in the northeast, as reasons for people leaving their workplaces, but these factors don’t necessarily coincide.

While the shift was likely instigated by the pandemic as people may have wanted to continue working from home, or began considering other options, experts also point to the role the government-led recovery has played. Since many Americans received stimulus checks in the mail, this could have led to them being less interested in getting a job after leaving their current place of employment. 

As reported by The Washington Post earlier this month, the number of people leaving their jobs varied across sectors. 

“In September, the number of quits increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); a category labeled “other services” (+47,000); and education and health services (+54,000),” the Post noted.

“In general, industries with the highest percentages of workers quitting include trade, transportation, and utilities, particularly retail, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality industries like arts and entertainment, and hotels and restaurants. A whopping 6.6 percent of workers in accommodation and food services quit their job in the month,” the outlet added.

The Post also pointed out the location differentiation of workers leaving their places of employment, noting that the “South, the West and Midwest have the highest numbers of workers quitting their jobs, at 3.3, 3.1 and 3.0 percent, while only 2.2 percent of workers in the Northeast are quitting jobs.”

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