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Over 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, new data shows

Federal jobs and opportunities in the South look like viable opportunities

Quitting job concept
Photo (c) Nora Carol Photography - Getty Images
The job market has shown its topsy-turvy side again. A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published on Tuesday shows that while the total number of job openings actually declined in August, a record 4.3 million workers actually quit their jobs.

Following a high in July, the number of job openings declined to 10.4 million on the last business day of August. Hires decreased to 6.3 million and separations held steady at around 6 million. 

Breaking down the separations metric, the total number and rate changed very little, but there was a lot of movement in the accommodation and food services sectors, where 203,000 retired, quit, or lost their jobs. Hiring improved in state and local government including education (+57,000). 

Job openings and hiring trends

Regulators said the industry sectors where job openings decreased the most were in health care and social assistance (-224,000) and accommodation and food services (-178,000).

When those jobs were actually filled, the Top 5 category hires overall in August came from:

  1. Leisure and Hospitality: 1.4 million

  2. Trade, transportation, and utilities: 1.37 million

  3. Accommodation and food services: 1.26 million

  4. Professional and business services: 1.26 million

  5. Retail trade: 857,000

For people looking for work, the federal government looks like a good opportunity. Overall, there were 142,000 federal job openings and 45,000 hires in August.

The southern U.S. also appears to be a good place to look for work. There were 2.5 million hires and 4 million job openings in the South vs. the other three geographical regions, which had about half of that.

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