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December 8, 2023

The Great Resignation may be over, but Maine’s quit rate just surged

Despite more workers staying at their jobs and the end of what's been called the Great Resignation, Maine may not be quite ready to quit the quitting trend.

The percentage of Maine workers choosing to leave their jobs surged from 1.7% to 2.2% in September, according to a report published Nov. 20 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of workers who quit increased from 11,000 in August to 14,000.

The 0.5% uptick, while seemingly small, tied with the rate in Florida for the largest in the U.S. that month, the most recent for which data is available. New Hampshire and New Jersey tied for the second-largest increase, at 0.4%.

In total, 18 states saw slight increases in quitting, 25 states recorded decreases, and rates remained flat in the rest of the country.

Maine's increase is remarkable because its quit rate has plummeted over the past year, falling from 2.5% in September 2022 to 1.7% in July and then again in August. Nationwide, the quit rate petered off from 2.6% to 2.3% during that period, and has stayed flat since then.

All of those numbers pale in comparison to the rates during the Great Resignation, which began in early 2021 as the pandemic led workers to reconsider their career goals and working conditions. Nearly 50 million Americans chose to leave their jobs during 2021. The resignation rate among Maine workers soared to 3.8% in November 2021, the ninth-highest rate in the U.S. that month.

Quit rates, which have been tracked since 2000, had never previously exceeded 2.4% nationally. During 2020, and the initial unemployment waves caused by the pandemic, the percentage of workers resigning fell to a seven-year low of 1.6%.

More recently, however, improved working conditions and fears of economic recession have prompted workers to stay where they are, and many economists said the Great Resignation had ended by this June.

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