The Great Resignation Is Growing and Black Women Are Ditching Their Jobs. Here’s Why

The Great Resignation continues to grow. In November 2021, a whopping 4.5 million workers either left or switched jobs, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The November numbers surpass the previous record of approximately 4.4 million workers who quit their jobs in September.   

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

The “I-quit” movement is leaving businesses short-staffed and in challenging situations. “To the extent that employers are having difficulty filling positions, wages will rise,” says Peter Earle, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). “But with the rise in the general price level, many firms will find the amount that they can raise wages constrained.”

Among the demographics leaving their jobs in great numbers are Black women. Black women in droves are checking their corporate careers to become entrepreneurs; other Black women are in jobs susceptible to pandemic shutdowns. A lack of childcare has also led to the drastic loss of Black women in the workforce, according to The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization focused on inequality in the U.S.

Some 181,000 Black women have exited the workforce since September 2021, with more than half (91,000) exiting in November 2021 alone, found the Brookings Institution.

But for some Black women who decide to leave the workforce, they are doing so to start their own businesses; Black women remain among the country’s fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. Black women-owned businesses grew by 50 percent between 2014 and 2019, found a recent study by American Express. 

The Great Resignation has given employees the upper hand, and many companies are finding it harder to retain them. The Great Resignation has made it an employee’s market. Small-business owners are offering higher wages to retain their workforce, Simon Worsfold, a senior data manager at Intuit’s fintech software arm, QuickBooks, told Inc.

More than 45 percent of small businesses are “planning to increase pay for existing employees and 36 percent [are] offering larger bonuses,” according to a December QuickBooks survey of 2,000 small-business owners.

The most recent data show people quitting jobs across the board: 4.4 percent of all positions in education are open, over 6 percent in retail, and more than 8 percent in health care. Open jobs in hotels and restaurants are nearly 9 percent. That’s almost a million and a half vacant positions. 

Karin Kimbrough is LinkedIn’s chief economist. She has degrees from Stanford and Harvard and a Ph.D. from Oxford, used to work for the Federal Reserve, and now has a birds-eye view of the U.S. labor market.

“People have been living to work for a very long time,” told CBC News this week. “And I think the pandemic brought that moment of reflection for everyone. ‘What do I wanna do? What makes my heart sing?’ And people are thinking, ‘If not now, then when?’”

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