Workers quitting jobs at record rate

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Number of unemployed persons per job opening, seasonally adjusted. Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

Number of unemployed persons per job opening, seasonally adjusted. Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

The largest share of workers quit their jobs in July since 2001 as U.S. job openings rose to a new record high, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The numbers gave additional signals that the strong labor market could push wages higher, according to Bloomberg News.

Job postings outnumbered the number of people without jobs by 659,000 in July, the most since 2000, according to the Labor Department.

The number of people who quit their jobs in July was its highest in 17 years.

The number of people who quit their jobs in July was its highest in 17 years.

Along with the number of people leaving jobs, the gap helps explain why wages rose in August at the fastest pace since 2009, as employers struggle to find qualified workers and Americans become more confident in leaving their jobs for better pay elsewhere amid Republican-backed tax cuts that have boosted the economy, Bloomberg reported.

Bentley Collins, sales and marketing vice president for Back Cove and Sabre Yachts, said his company could produce more boats to meet strong demand if they could find more skilled workers.

“If we could get more people we’d have half a chance of building more,” Collins told Trade Only Today at the Newport International Boat Show on Friday. “I’m afraid we’re going to start to feel wage pressure. Then it becomes a question of, do we want to build more and drive up the price?

The rise in the job leaving rate was driven by private-sector employees, whose share of people voluntarily leaving their jobs rose to 2.7 percent, also the highest since 2001 and up from 2.4 percent in February, according to Bloomberg.

A separate survey from the National Federation of Independent Business showed 38 percent of U.S. small businesses had openings that they couldn’t fill in August, a record in data back to 1973.

Although it trails the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the report adds context to monthly employment figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.

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