Job openings hold near record high as more Americans quit their jobs in April

Number of Americans quitting their jobs remains high as 'Great Resignation' persists

Americans continued to quit their jobs at a rapid pace in April, emphasizing how persistent turmoil in the labor market has made it difficult for employers to fill open positions.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that 4.4 million Americans, or about 2.9% of the workforce, quit their jobs in April. That's down slightly from the high of 4.5 million recorded in March, but well above the pre-pandemic level of about 3.6 million.

Meanwhile, the number of job openings fell slightly to 11.4 million by the end of April – the second-highest level on record, but below the upwardly revised figure of 11.8 million in March. There is a gap of roughly 5.46 million between openings and the number of available workers, suggesting the labor market is still extremely tight. That is below the difference of about 5.6 million in March.

Jobs hiring

A large "Now Hiring" advertisement is posted on the windows of the Advance Auto Parts store in Bay Shore, New York on March 24, 2022. (Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"April’s JOLTS report shows the jobs market remains squeaky tight, with near-record job openings and layoffs hitting a record low," said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. "This almost guarantees another healthy employment report on Friday and means employers’ focus is on expansion despite high inflation and pending higher interest rates."


The data emphasizes how newly empowered workers are quitting their jobs in favor of better wages, working conditions and hours as businesses lure new workers with higher salaries – a new trend dubbed the "Great Resignation." As a result, Americans' incomes are rising across the board as employers have ramped up hiring to offset the losses. 

The highest inflation in decades, however, has eroded the pay gains for many workers: The Labor Department reported last month that average hourly earnings for all employees actually declined 2.6% in April from the same month a year ago when factoring in the impact of rising consumer prices.


Help wanted signs are springing up all over as businesses gear up for the first post-COVID summer season. (Craig Bailey/Florida Today via USA Today network / Reuters Photos)

On a monthly basis, average hourly earnings dropped 0.1% in April, when accounting for the inflation spike.

Resignations in April were concentrated in accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, and transportation, housing and utilities. A majority of people quit for a new job.

The number of available jobs has topped 10 million for nine consecutive months; before the pandemic began in February 2020, the highest on record was 7.7 million.


The data precedes the release of the May jobs report on Friday morning, which is expected to show that employers hired 325,000 workers following a gain of 428,000 in April. The unemployment rate is expected to inch down to 3.5%, the lowest since the pandemic began two years ago.