31 Million Americans Said ‘I Quit!’ in 2014

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WWII-era help wanted sign in San Bruno, California.

NARA

WWII-era help wanted sign in San Bruno, California.

Federal statistics released on Tuesday mapped some of the labor-market ebbs and flows that produce the numbers everyone looks at, like the unemployment rate.

The number of job openings, hirings, firings, layoffs and quits can hint at how employers and workers are feeling about the economy. And those sentiments can, in turn, shape consumer decisions, wages and more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says in 2014, 58.7 million people were hired and 55.5 million separated from work. Of those who separated, 30.5 million quit and 20.4 million were fired or laid off. The size of the numbers indicates just how much the American labor market is constantly in flux: Roughly two in five people working were hired to their current job last year. More than one in five quit a job in ’14. All this activity rose last year over 2013.

But so far in 2015, there’s scant change over the end of 2014, which suggests that the job market has cooled a bit (something other sources have also indicated).

“There were 5.0 million job openings on the last business day of January, little changed from 4.9 million in December,” BLS reported. “Hires decreased to 5.0 million in January and separations were little changed at 4.8 million.”

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