The ‘great resignation.’ KY has 4th-highest rate of people quitting jobs, study shows

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Kentucky had the fourth-highest rate of workers quitting their jobs in the past year as part of the “great resignation,” according to a new study.

Wallethub, a personal finance website, analyzed resignation rates over the past 12 months for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and ranked them in a recent report. Kentucky’s resignation rate was among the highest, as workers have been incentivized to change jobs amid an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Wallethub.

Kentucky had a job resignation rate of 3.42 percent over the past 12 months, according to Wallethub’s study. The only states with higher rates over the past year were Alaska, Nevada and Georgia. Alaska’s resignation rate was the highest at 3.8 percent. Mississippi rounded out the top five with a 12-month resignation rate of 3.34 percent.

Kentucky’s resignation rate in the most recent month was 3.8 percent, which ranked ninth among all states, according to Wallethub.

New York, D.C., Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachussetts had the five lowest one-year resignation rates, according to Wallethub.

“A lot is going on,” said Scott Behson, a business professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University who provided commentary to Wallethub for the study. “Many who were close to or at retirement age may have simply retired. The stock market and 401ks are way up, and it incented a lot to simply remain out of the workplace.

“This is not necessarily a bad thing, as this dynamic creates more mid-and entry-level openings. Also, the pandemic and changes to immigration policy have restricted the labor pool. But a lot of what I am seeing is that so many employees are considering how they were treated by employers during the past few years and deciding to seek out more supportive workplaces.”

Another professor, Joseph P. Broschak from the University of Arizona, said labor force participation had decreased and competition for employees had ramped up.

“Decreased labor force participation is putting several different pressures on employers; pressure to retain their current workers by raising wages or offering additional incentives, pressure to quickly find and train new workers to replace those who leave, and pressure to find alternative ways to serve customers, whether it be asking their current employees to work additional hours, or substituting technology for workers,” Broschak said, providing commentary for Wallethub.

Other experts said that many workers found they liked working remotely and may have rethought their priorities at a job if their employer required them to start returning to an office every day.

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