Record-Breaking 4.5 Million US Workers Quit Their Jobs In November 

According to the US Department of Labor, a record-breaking number of employees quit their jobs in November while the total amount of employment openings continued to drop, the department reported this Tuesday. 

Around 4.53 million Americans resigned from their jobs throughout the month of November, according to the DOL’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This marks an 8.9% increase in resignations when compared to October. The data also shows November beating September’s record of resignations, which peaked at 4.36 million. 

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The recent months of Americans resigning has been labelled as the Great Resignation. Workers have been leaving their positions for a multitude of reasons, including not enough pay/benefits, lack of health and safety precautions, and increased mobility in the labor market. Job openings in America currently outnumber the amount of citizens looking for work. 

In October there were around 11.09 million job openings throughout the nation, and around 10.56 million in November. This time last year the job opening rate was around 4.5%, and has since increased to 6.6%. 

“The Great Resignation shows no sign of abating, with quits hitting a new record. The question is why, and the answers are for starkly different reasons,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. 

“COVID-19 burnout and fear are continuing, but also, many Americans have the confidence to quit given the high level of job openings and rising pay.”

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A separate economic report from the ISM Manufacturing Index showed that manufacturing rates throughout December were slower than initially expected. The index registered a 58.7% rate, 1.3% lower than the 60% expectation. 

The index also showed major decreases in supplier delivery, which fell by 7.3% last month. While inflation in general is running at its highest level in nearly 40 years, the index also showed a shocking decrease in prices; 14.2%.

The employment index within manufacturing, however, has shown a .9% gain in employment, which is a sign that hiring within the sector is remaining relatively strong. 

As Covid cases continue to surge, the healthcare and social assistance industries are experiencing some of the highest levels of resignation, with a 3% rise in November, the highest percentage on record for that sector. 

The Labor Department is expected to release their closely watched nonfarm payroll count for December within the week. Experts in the field are expecting, and hoping, to see a growth of around 422,000 jobs with an unemployment rate of 4.1%.

Americans Are Resigning From Their Jobs At Record Rates

It’s been recorded that around 4.4 million American workers have handed in their resignation during the month of September alone. Certain states are experiencing major spikes in job resignations, so much so that it’s being referred to as “The Great Resignation.” 

The increase in resignation is due to a multitude of pandemic and economic factors. Many parents are dealing with the dual demands of childcare and working full time, so many of them are opting to resign and apply for unemployment so they have enough time in the day to take care of themselves and their families. 

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Some employees are able to find better paying jobs as well, as many companies are reacting to this spike in unemployment by offering raised wages and attractive benefit packages. 

Beyond the pandemic, some states are experiencing a shortage in labor due to aging employees, low workforce participation rates, and other long-term issues that have existed long before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“A lot of states with elevated quits are states with higher-than-average COVID cases, but a lot of it is due to labor market tightness. Idaho has an extremely aging population — a lot of the tightness in Idaho is that it’s an older workforce. They also have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, so that means it’s a very good environment if you are a worker” looking for a new job,”  said Liz Wilke, chief economist at Gusto, which provides payroll and other services to small businesses. 

New Hampshire and Indiana are seeing an increase in resignation for similar reasons. Employees are leveraging their benefits and salaries to find more lucrative jobs. Typical hourly earnings increased by 4.9% in October due to these leveraging tactics as well. 

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The top 10 states with the highest resignation rates for the month of September are Hawaii (7.1%), Montana (4.8%), Nevada (4.5%), Alaska (4.3%), Colorado (4.3%), Indiana (4.3%), Idaho (4.1%), Oregon (3.9%), Louisiana (3.8%), and New Hampshire (3.8%).

According to Oxford Economics, for every job opening created in September there were only .74 unemployed people available to take the position, marking the lowest ratio on record. Economists are still confident, however, that America’s workforce will be able to rebuild itself in 2022. 

“One reason for optimism about the labor force re-entry of prime-age workers is that nearly all workers who left the labor force during the pandemic intend to re-enter in the next 12 months, suggesting that most prime-age exiters still view their exits as temporary,” Goldman Sachs analysts noted.

“Workers have ongoing concerns about workplace safety given the ongoing pandemic. It may take some time for some people to feel comfortable returning to work,” they also noted.

Unemployment Form

U.S. Economy Adds Just 194,000 Jobs In September, Unemployment Falls To 4.8%

According to a news release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the economy added just 194,000 jobs in September. The results are about 306,000 less than the Dow Jones estimated growth. That number is also a significant drop from August, when the U.S. added 366,000 jobs.

In addition, the unemployment rate fell by 0.4% to a total of 4.8%, and the total number of unemployed persons dropped to 7.7 million.

Leisure and hospitality led the way when it comes to the industries that saw the biggest job growths in this period by adding 74,000 jobs. Professional and business services added 60,000 jobs, which was down from the 74,000 jobs added in August. Retail trade finished third in overall job growth, adding 56,000 positions.

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Other upward growths include warehouse and transportation (+47,000), information (+32,000), social assistance (+30,000), manufacturing (+26,000), construction (+22,000), wholesale trade (+17,000), and mining (+5,000). One noteworthy detail is that warehouse and transportation is the only industry listed on the BLS report that currently sits above its pre-pandemic level (up 72,000) back in February of 2020.

With continually easing COVID-19 restrictions and an increasing amount of customers returning, it’s not surprising that restaurants have been able to rehire many workers. However, those increase in job numbers don’t tell the whole story, as restaurant staffers are still dealing with difficult conditions such as low wages, extra hours, and increased workloads.

In terms of overall wages, employees on private nonfarm payrolls saw their average hourly salary increase by .19 cents to a total of $30.85. The BLS explains this trend could be thanks to the increased demand for labor as the nation goes into COVID-19 recovery mode.

Unfortunately, a number of other industries— such as education— are still suffering in regards to employment. Local government education decreased by 144,000 jobs, and 17,000 jobs in state government education. Private education also saw little change.

The BLS notes that the “back-to-school” hiring period that typically occurs in September is lower than usual, although the results are difficult to interpret due the pandemic inflating seasonal patterns.

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These education numbers come out among the news that President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate could eventually lead to a “teacher vaccine requirement in many states,” which the Associated Press reports many education leaders believe. It’s an additional factor that could play a part in the movement of education employment in the coming months.

Employment in health care saw downgrades at residential care facilities and hospitals with 38,000 and 8,000 job losses, respectively. However, 28,000 jobs were added in ambulatory health care services.

Talking to CNBC, Indeed’s economic research director Nick Bunker explained that the overall results of the report were disappointing despite the presence of many people who have strong desires to return to the workforce after COVID-19 ravaged the nation.

“This is quite a deflating report. This year has been one of false dawns for the labor market. Demand for workers is strong and millions of people want to return to work, but employment growth has yet to find its footing.”

Despite the somber feeling these results may bring, there is some reason for optimism when it comes to a possible unemployment turnaround in the distant future as CNN Business notes. The reports were conducted around mid-September, when COVID-19 cases were at a high. Since that time, the U.S. is currently averaging 102,000 COVID-19 cases per day, which is a 22% drop over the past two weeks (per Axios).

If the Delta wave is truly tapering off, job employment across all industries should be heading towards better days. This news also helps to certify that the fight against COVID-19 and any of its variants is just as important as ever, given the extreme impact it can have on the economy and workers nationwide.

One Year Since The Covid-19 Pandemic Began And America Is Still Down 10 Million Jobs 

Nearly one year after the Covid-19 pandemic initially shut down America the nation is still finding itself down by 10 million jobs compared to where we were at this time last year. 745,000 additional Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, according to the US Labor Department. 

The number of new claims is up from the previous week, however, it’s slightly less than what economists were expecting for the month of March. 436,696 workers also applied for Pandemic Unemployment benefits which are mainly available for gig workers or self-employed individuals. 

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First-time jobless claims in total equated to about 1.2 million without seasonal adjustments for last week. Continued benefit claims, which specifically count applicants that submitted their forms for at least two weeks in a row or more, reached 4.2 million in the last week of February, which is slightly smaller when compared to the week prior. 

At this point last year the labor crisis was just beginning with about 6.9 million Americans applying for first-time unemployment, and millions of jobs disappearing in general. While millions of new jobs have been created within the past year and many Americans were able to get back to work, the nation is still struggling to rebuild the economy.

The American Department of Labor employment report cited “fewer jobs added in February than expected: 117,000 versus the 177,000 forecast. Even though the private sector report and the government’s official figures, which are due Friday at 8:30 am ET, aren’t correlated, it’s not a great sign.”

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Economists estimate that about 182,000 new jobs were added to the US market in February, which is up 49,000 from the previous month. When compared to February 2020, however, the nation is still down about 9.7 million jobs; at that point in time the unemployment rate for America was actually at a 50-year low of 3.5%.

“The expectations are widely different, ranging from a 100,000 jobs lost to 500,000 jobs gained. We expect the US jobs recovery to show some encouraging progress in February,” said Lydia Boussour, lead US economist at Oxford Economics.

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses will hopefully help assist the nation in creating new jobs. The winter storms that have been impacting the country, however, are also influencing how many new jobs are created. The unemployment rate is currently projected to remain at 6.3% for now as well, however, the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell claimed last week that the actual unemployment rate is likely closer to 10%.

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Cleaning up Plastic

Plastic Bank Is Cleaning Up The Planet Of All Plastic, One Country At A Time

When it comes to climate change, one of the biggest man-made contributions lies in our single-use plastic consumption. Plastic floods our oceans, litters our forests, and distributes micro plastic pieces throughout our bodies. Efforts are always increasing to make the planet more green, and less artificial, now, Plastic Bank, a relatively new “social enterprise” based in Canada, is monetizing recycling plastic to benefit the planet, and the people in more underdeveloped areas of the world in which plastic creates the most issues. 

According to CNN, the overall goal of Plastic Bank, is to motivate individuals in underdeveloped areas of the world to collect and recycle plastic products in exchange for cash, goods, and services such as food, clean water resources, and even tuition for children struggling to afford education. 

“After collection, plastic is weighed, sorted, chipped, melted into pellets and sold on as ‘raw material feedstock’ to be manufactured into everything from bottles for cleaning products to clothing. I saw an abundance; I saw an opportunity. We inherently reveal the value in this material,” CEO David Katz told an audience at the Sustainable Brands Oceans conference in Porto, Portugal. 

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Katz went on to explain that the company began back in 2013, and started in one of the poorest countries on the planet, Haiti. Now, there’s over 2,000 individuals working for Plastic Bank in the country and all those individuals are, on average, 63% above the poverty line thanks to income they’ve made recycling! The business is able to pay its workers through an app based system, which has also helped a lot of those individuals open their first bank account, (CNN). 

Plastic Bank has reported on their website that since 2013, the company has expanded into the Philippines, Indonesia, and most recently Brazil. Through their efforts and now multiple collaborations with major corporations such as S.C. Johnson, they’ve recycled over 13 million pounds of plastic! The company also reported that in 2020 they plan to expand into parts of Egypt, Colombia, and Vietnam. Egypt and Vietnam have been on the Bank’s radar for quite some time, both the Nile River in Egypt, and the Mekong River in Vietnam are responsible for up to 90% of plastic debris travelling into the planets seas, (CNN). 

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While the business is constantly growing and helping reduce the massive amounts of plastic littering our natural world, there needs to be more done on the opposite end, in terms of plastic manufacturing and distribution. In order to truly clean up the planet and help make a real major difference, more plastic alternatives need to be introduced and mass produced. Single-use plastic is one of the number one culprits in terms of pollution, general society can help by switching to more paper-based, or any other biodegradable alternative for those single use products.  

“If we add large streams of other bio-materials … and we eliminate the value of what’s already on the planet [single use plastic], and nobody goes to collect any of it, and no one wants to trade it, then what? An increase in plastic alternatives has to occur while not interrupting or degrading the value of the plastic that’s already on the planet. What we need to do is get away from traditional capitalism where shareholders benefit first. Companies that stand forward to repair the damage will win. The regeneration economy is emerging,” Katz discussed at the conference

At the end of the day, Katz says his company’s mission is clear, we know the world has all the resources, and means to end excessive plastic use and production, and increase much greener options while remaining economically stable. It’s about everyone coming together and agreeing upon a plan to help save our planet and all the individuals habituating it.


50,000 Union Members Go on Strike at GM

This morning, September 16, nearly 50,000 employees of General Motors went on strike at factories across the country, standing in picket lines and holding signs, according to a report from the New York Times. The strike was authorized by regional leaders of the United Automobile Workers union and was the union’s first walkout since 2007. The demands of the union for their employer echo many of the complaints expressed by working people in modern-day America: strikers want higher pay, idle plants to reopen, and jobs to be created. GM, on the other hand, wants to lower the amount of money they pay for their employees’ health care and increase employee productivity. This is the largest strike of any union on any business since 2007, which is the last time the UAW went on strike.

The UAW has the support of the Teamsters union, which is comprised of truckers, many of whom are responsible for transporting vehicles from GM’s plants to dealerships. The Teamsters union, standing in solidarity with the UAW, will not cross UAW picket lines, effectively joining them in their strike by refusing to work at GM plants where strikes are ongoing. While the UAW and GM negotiate an end to the strike, GM’s stock prices have fallen precipitously, as investors worry about the company’s financial future. While GM has enough cash, borrowing power, and inventory to sell to keep the company financially afloat for a few weeks, a strike lasting beyond that period of time could have long-lasting devastating consequences, reducing the company to junk bond status.

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Strikers complain that while GM has seen increases in profit over the past several years, their wages have not gone up in response. Although the UAW includes members from Ford and Chrysler, only GM employees went on strike because GM is the only auto manufacturer that is closing American plants. Though GM is the primary target of the UAW, the union is negotiating for terms that would benefit workers across the industry. The strike was triggered by the expiration of labor contracts over the weekend; as Ford and Chrysler were not the target of the strike, their contracts were temporarily extended. Though it’s bad for business, auto manufacturers prefer to be the first target of strikes rather than the second or third targets, as they can work to meet bargaining objectives more directly with greater flexibility, according to CNN.

The union feels particularly aggrieved because it claims that it helped save GM during the Great Recession.

Though they will not receive regular pay from GM while they are striking, workers will receive $250 per week from the union’s emergency strike fund. For these employees, the potential for higher wages upon the strike’s conclusion makes the temporary loss of income worth going on strike. One of the union’s major complaints is GM’s reliance on temporary workers, who receive fewer benefits and often don’t have a clear path to permanent employment. Additionally, the union wants a better profit sharing plan from GM and lump sum payments in addition to higher hourly wages. The union argues that while these concessions may hurt GM’s bottom line in the short term, paying employees higher wages would boost the economy overall and lead to higher productivity and quality of work.

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The union feels particularly aggrieved because it claims that it helped save GM during the Great Recession. After economic problems led sales to plunge, GM and Chrysler went into bankruptcy, being kept alive by federal bailout money. During this time, the union agreed to several concessions for GM, including reduced pay and fewer benefits for new hires, in an effort to keep the business afloat. Analysts, however, claimed that this move on behalf of the unions was made out of necessity, as bankruptcy judges have the power to break union contracts, giving employers in bankruptcy more leverage.

Democratic candidates for president have weighed in on the strike, generally offering support for the workers and unions generally. Joe Biden’s campaign tweeted that he stands with UAW, adding that jobs are about dignity and respect in addition to a paycheck. Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren have also expressed their support of the strike via Twitter. The strike also comes amidst legal problems for many of the union’s leaders, who have been accused of appropriating union funds for extravagant personal purchases, including a Ferrari, and may serve to draw attention away from this controversy.