Economics/Class Relations

Vast majority of American workers like their jobs – even as a record number quit them

By The Conversation

A record share of American workers are quitting their jobs, thanks in part to a strong economy and a labor shortage.

Does that mean Americans are unhappy with where they work?

The answer would seem to be yes, according to many economists and other observers. That’s the narrative driving the Great Resignation, in which workers are simply fed up with their current jobs and demanding something better.

Survey data I’ve been collecting during the pandemic, along with social survey results from previous years, however, suggests this is far from the whole story. Rather than being motivated simply by dissatisfaction, it appears many of them are simply taking advantage of a strong economy to look around, while for others, the pandemic has prompted them to consider their options.

Are you satisfied?

The General Social Survey, a reputable national survey of American adults, has been asking workers questions about how they feel about the quality of their working life since 2002.

There are actually three key types of questions it asks that help us get at this idea: the level of dissatisfaction with current work, turnover intention and confidence in finding a new job.


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