Too many hours for not enough reward (
by Dan Burns
Jan 11, 2022, 8:00 AM

A bit of a reality check on the Great Resignation

I have to confess that when I started seeing news about the Great R, I maybe allowed myself to get a little carried away (though only in my own thoughts, so no harm done). I’ve long yearned to see real movement toward a place where everyone who wants to – a large majority, to be sure – gets to work less and retire sooner. But while the GR is indeed good to see, there are caveats.

The JOLTS report for November continued to show high levels of churn in the labor market and strong net job growth. Job openings ticked down a bit, while hires ticked up and quits hit another series high. The media has focused on the high quits rate, but what’s often missing from that coverage is that workers who are quitting their jobs aren’t dropping out of the labor force, they are quitting to take other jobs...

Much attention throughout the recovery has been on accommodation and food services, which suffered the greatest losses in employment when the pandemic hit and is now experiencing record-high levels of quits. In November 2021, accommodation and food services recorded nearly a million quits (920,000). But—and here’s the part many commentators seem to be missing—hiring in accommodation and food services exceeded quits in November, coming in at over 1 million (1,079,000).

We all know what a bunch of utter BS financial media – that is, the rich man’s whimpering, groveling propagandist curs, all day long – is. No need to go on about that.

People are finding better jobs, which is good. But chances are that many of those jobs still require working too much for too little, and certainly not enough to build up serious funding for secure retirement, at least without having to hang on until the “Medicare birthday” happens at 65.

None of which is cool. And none of which is likely to get cool until we have progressive governance, top to bottom. You know, intelligent, caring people who aren’t just in it for themselves. There’s still a vast dearth of those, and change is happening too slowly. I wish I could provide a guaranteed, workable way to speed it up.

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