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Thursday, March 23, 2023

California is not the place to leave your job

“The Looking Glass” considers economic and real estate trends through two different lenses: the optimist’s “glass half-full” and the pessimist’s “glass half-empty.”

Discussion: Californians are slow to the “quit your job” trend.

Source: State-by-state JOLT (job openings and labor turnover) report for September by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It details the reasons behind swings in broad employment trends.

Discussion: Quitting is eagerly viewed as a measure of worker’s confidence – the more the better. Why? Financial logic suggests that you won’t leave your current job if you don’t think it’s easy to find a replacement. So if “voluntary departures” are more popular outside of California, are Golden State employees worried about job prospects?

glass half empty

In September, 443,000 people resigned in California. Again, this is the most “I’m out of here” note to the boss between states. But remember, California is also the largest job market in the country.

Leaving therefore represents only 2.7% of all workers – the 11th smallest share nationally and well below the 3% US quitting rate.

But workplace sustainability is nothing new in the state. Between 2000 and 2019, California dropped an average rate of 3.2%, the 12th lowest nationally.

And the pace of leaving California in the “Great Resignation” era is humbly growing. September’s voluntary exits were up 8.5% compared to the previous three-month average, only the 29th biggest increase and down from 9.3% nationwide.

glass half full

California bosses hired 660,000 people in September — tops in the nation — although that’s only 4% of all workers. This is the tenth lowest share nationally and well below the US rate of 4.4%.

The pace of employee growth is accelerating. California hiring compared to the past three month average? 3.7% (No. 10) versus 3.5% nationwide decline.

And firings with 117,000 layoffs or vacations are rare — only 0.7% of all California workers. This is good news as it is the seventh lowest share nationally; below the 0.9% US rate; And down 0.3% (No. 23) versus the three-month average.

what is next

California bosses need more employees because there were 1.16 million vacancies across the state in September — No. 1 nationally.

Yet those vacancies account for 6.5% of all California employees, a modest level—it ranks 33 nationally and just below the 6.6% US rate.

There is improvement though. Openings were 7.7% (No. 8 best) compared to the previous three-month average and easily fell by 1.9% across the country.

California’s 1.42 million officially unemployed – again No. 1 – are seeking a paycheck in the nation’s second most competitive job market.

Looking at the openings and unemployment statistics, you see 123 job hunters for every 100 opportunities. Only in Hawaii were the conditions worse for the unemployed. Nationally, there were 83 unemployed per 100 occasions.


Simply put, California accounts for 11.4% of all US jobs. However, it has only 11.1% of the country’s employment opportunities – and 16.4% of those seeking work.

Jonathan Lancer is business columnist for Southern California Newsgroup. He can be contacted at [email protected]

World Nation News Desk
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