As the Biden vaccine mandate is challenged by workers from Southwest Airlines pilots to medical staff, 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs just in August. Economists fear the numbers could even get worse as September and October’s data are released.
The August numbers were led by restaurant employees as well as retail staff, according to figures released Tuesday by the Department of Labor. Some groups say there are several reasons for people quitting their jobs but the big elephant in the room ignored by the mainstream media may be mandates being enforced by employers and states.
The Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as the JOLTS report, showed that 4.3 million left their jobs. The walkouts rose to 2.9 percent, which is an increase of 242,000 from the previous month, and represents the highest figure in data that goes back to December 2000.
An increase of 157,000 walkouts was recorded in the accommodation and food services industry, while 26,000 more left the wholesale trade business, the figures show. State and local government education saw 25,000 more departures.
In comparison, employers laid off an additional 1.3 million workers in August, according to the agency.
United Airlines, which employs tens of thousands, announced its vaccine mandate in early August. The Chicago-based firm was one of the first companies to do so.
Southwest experienced a grinding halt to over 4,000 flights in recent days after a pilot walkout. Company officials were mocked and called to task for attempting to blame the canceled flights on weather. No other airline experienced the same cancellations during that time. Some Southwest pilots who remained on the job were photographed hanging “Don’t tread on me” flags from the cockpit as the planes remained at the gates.
The walkouts across the nation didn’t affect certain industries such as the practice of law.
The new data is “highlighting the immense problems businesses are dealing with,” said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, in an email. “Not enough people. Not enough equipment and/or parts. Meantime, customers are waiting for their orders, or waiting to place their orders. What a strange world this is.”
The new job numbers come after the government said late last week that job gains were weak for a second straight month in September, with total nonfarm payroll employment rising by 194,000 that month less than half of what was expected.