People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. What's driving the Great Resignation?

A woman works on her computer.
Jackie Jiran, 48, has just made a major mid-life career change that allows her to work from home. “I am able to, in a way, have it all,” she says.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News File

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the highest monthly number reported by the bureau since it began publishing quits data back in December of 2000.

It’s part of what some are calling the Great Resignation. The pandemic has shaken up the traditional workplace, employers are desperate to hire workers, the labor movement has roared back to life, and employees are looking for better compensation and better working conditions.

Here on Minnesota Now, we’re taking a closer look at the Great Resignation. Wednesday, host Cathy Wurzer asked Phyllis Moen why people are leaving their jobs — and what that means for the employment landscape.

Moen holds the McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. In March of 2020, she co-authored a book called “Overload” all about stress, burn-out and attrition in the workplace.

Moen and Wurzer explored how work has changed during the pandemic, what people are looking for in new opportunities and what employers have to do to hire the workers they desperately need.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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