Feeling good about the economy?

Quits, JTS1000QUR, black line, measured monthly, January 2000 to March 2013

While the media continues an incessant stream of happy news reiterating the mantra “things are getting better”, I try to look at a broad range of indicators to get a true idea of the state of economy. So you think “things are getting better” do you? Enough to quit your job? Perhaps without another lined up? After all, if things are truly getting better, you might be inclined to take some time off, then start your job hunt. Well, the data shows otherwise.

The chart above shows a metric called “Quits”, (JTS1000QUR, black line, measured monthly) from January 2000 to March 2013, with the vertical grey bars indicating recession. We can see between the Early 2000s recession and The Great Recession voluntary separations (aka “quits”) averaged 2.3% of the unemployed. After The Great Recession quits averaged 1.7%, telling us that voluntary separations have dropped some 26%.

Moral of the story? Folks just aren’t quitting their jobs at the same frequency as they did before The Great Recession. Maybe its because they were frightened by the intensity and duration of the recession, perhaps its because they’ve recently found employment after being out of work for a protracted period of time.

Or maybe things aren’t really “getting better”?

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