(Bloomberg) – Since the start of the pandemic, more than a third of American workers have changed employers or lost their jobs, twice the typical level in the past two decades, according to a study.
Among workers who had a job in February 2020, nearly 37% were no longer with their employer a year later, according to a paper by Alexander Bick of Arizona State University and Adam Blandin of Virginia Commonwealth University. About 26% had a different employer and the remaining 11% were unemployed.
The historically high level of turnover, or exchange rate, underscores the colossal challenge of bringing millions of people back to the job market as the economy reopens.
Millions of workers who lost their jobs during the spring of 2020 returned to work in March this year, and the document implies that the recovery is largely due to people finding new jobs, rather than returning to their old employers.
“The shock in the early months of the pandemic may have permanently destroyed much of the overlap between employers and workers, many of which may have been very productive,” the authors wrote. “Because highly productive matches are expensive to find, the COVID-19-induced economic disruption may have induced persistent reductions in productivity and employment.”
For people who had been at work for less than two years before the pandemic, attrition was much higher, according to the study. Almost 62% had separated from their workers a year later, compared to about 16% of those who had been employed at the same company for at least a decade.
This could help explain the current labor shortage, especially in the restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries, which lost the most jobs during the pandemic and are now struggling to hire quickly to meet strong demand. Turnover is traditionally high in those sectors.
All economic crises cause job losses. But the most striking difference during the pandemic is that a quarter of workers had a new employer one year after the COVID-19 hit, said Bick and Blandin, using a reference population data set from the Census Bureau. the United States as the basis for an online survey to collect workforce with real-time data. That’s almost double the next highest rate, around 13% in 1997.
“In general, some amount of labor market turnover is healthy because it indicates that both employers and workers feel confident that they can find the right job and mix of employees,” said Daniel Zhao, an economist at jobs site Glassdoor. “However, attrition is currently high due to the persistent hangover from the ongoing pandemic. We are nowhere near a recovered job market where workers quit out of trust rather than necessity. “
Original Note: One in Three US Workers Changed or Lost Jobs in Past Year
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