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January 25, 2022

Droves more Mainers are saying 'I quit,' new data show

Courtesy / BLS A map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the resignation rates for each state during November 2021.

A surge of Mainers have recently quit their jobs at one of the highest rates in the U.S., data released Friday by the federal government show.

Roughly 23,000 workers in the state quit during November 2021, the most recent month analyzed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number represents a 28% increase from October’s total and is up from 14,000 in November 2020.

The November 2021 quit rate of 3.8% placed Maine No. 9 among states with the largest portions of workforces resigning. Maine tied with Delaware, Indiana and Mississippi for that rank.

Nationally, the rate was 3%, equivalent to 4.53 million U.S. workers, according to the preliminary BLS data. New Hampshire tied with Georgia for the highest level of quitters, 4.5%, while Vermont ranked No. 2 in the U.S. at 4.4%.

Following New Hampshire and Vermont, Maine ranked No. 3 among northeastern states.

The spike came after Maine recorded a rate of 2.9% in October and roughly similar levels in September and August.

The country’s quit rate hit a then-record in April 2021 of 2.8%, the highest monthly level since the BLS began collecting the data in 2001. From January 2010 to January 2020, the national monthly quit rate sat between 1.3% and 2.4%.

Experts have attributed the explosion in exits over the past nine months to the country’s ongoing financial turnaround, a chronic shortage of labor, and the desire of workers to leave jobs affected by COVID-19.

A July 2021 Gallup survey found that 48% of America's working population is actively job searching or watching for job opportunities. And in a Mainebiz poll last October, 56% of responding readers said “the Great Resignation” had affected their businesses. 

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