A record number of Americans quit their jobs in 2021

The number of workers quitting last month fell in health care and social assistance jobs, as well as restaurants, hotels and construction. Quits went up in nondurable good manufacturing.

Even though a record number of people quit their jobs last year, the US labor market still recorded a net employment gain of 6.4 million.

In total, 75.3 million workers where hired last year, while 68.9 million quit, were laid off or discharged. Out of these so-called separations, 47.4 million were voluntary quits.

In line with that, the number of layoffs hit a new record low at 1.2 million in December, showing that the negative impact from the Omicron variant did not fully hit the labor market at the end of last year.

Job openings stood at 10.9 million in December, compared with the data series high of 11.1 million recorded in July.

Worker shortage continues

For US companies, the labor shortage is still as real as it was in the summer. Home Depot (HD) has a plan to address the challenge: speedy job offers.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer said Tuesday that job applicants “could receive an offer within one day of applying.”

Home Depot said the “accelerated” hiring process is part of its plan to hire more than 100,000 new associates ahead of its busy spring season.

“In today’s climate, jobseekers are shopping for the best opportunity,” Eric Schelling, Home Depot’s vice president of global talent acquisition, said in a statement.

To attract workers, Home Depot said it offers jobseekers various incentives, including upskilling programs, tuition reimbursement, a cash bonus program and discounted stock purchases.

The pandemic has forced a rethinking of how we work. A new study released Tuesday by the University of Michigan shows college-educated workers prioritize work passion over financial security, forcing companies to reassess what they offer their employees.

–CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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