BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Utah sits in the middle for rates of people quitting during the pandemic

Mar 15, 2022, 7:21 AM

Utah sits middle of the pack when it comes to the number of people quitting during the pandemic...

Jessica Barona, left, bumps elbows with B. BK Keown, Department of Workforce Services employment counselor, at the department's office in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Barona was able to get a job this morning with the help of Keown. (FILE PHOTO Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(FILE PHOTO Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Recently compiled government data shows Utah ranked 24 in the states for the lowest number of people quitting during the pandemic.

According to the data, 28% of Utah workers left their job at the end of 2021. Utah Department of Workforce Services spokesperson Jared Mendenhall said the pandemic gave people quitting the opportunity to shift in their careers

“There are a lot of people moving up the ladder [and] leaving one job for another job,” he said, “So we are seeing a high number of quits, but we’re also seeing a high number of starts. Those are kind of the conditions that we find ourselves in Utah right now.”

Mendenhall also said that Utah was one of four states to see job growth during the pandemic. He credits that to the current state of the economy.

“What we’re seeing now is some of the lowest unemployment rates recorded and we’re continuing to see job growth,” Mendenhall said. Even though people are leaving their jobs, he says to be careful about how that is interpreted.

“We are seeing high numbers of quits,” Mendenhall said. “Now, when they say quits, it’s not that people are leaving the job market.”

He says the phrase “great resignation” is a mischaracterization of what is happening. Instead, he said he believes it is more of a “great reshuffling” because of the number of jobs available.

“We’re seeing is a lot of people are using this hot [job] market as an opportunity to leave one job,” Mendenhall said, “And find something else that either generally pays more or has better benefits or just fits into [their] life better.”

The data also shows that Utah ranked somewhere in the middle when it came to how businesses responded to the pandemic and how it affected the state’s quit rate. Business response to the pandemic included increasing wages, creating remote working opportunities, providing PPE and implementing precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, etc.

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Utah sits in the middle for rates of people quitting during the pandemic