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Why Are So Many Americans Not Working?

2 Mins read

In 2008, I read an interesting article in the June/July issue of “Success” magazine. The article stated, “every month, about 1 million Americans go through some type of job change or loss.” The article also stated that 67 percent of wage earners think about quitting their jobs; “regularly” or “constantly.” So, why do so many Americans choose that they will not be working? In 2021, employees are doing more than thinking about quitting their jobs. People started to leave their jobs in August […]

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NOTES: Why Are So Many Americans Not Working?

The report explained that people quitting their jobs are happening across all job sectors and among workers at all skill levels.

The number of quits also increased in the South and Midwest regions. This added to the “Great Resignation” of 2021, coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, during a Bloomberg Businessweek interview.

During the earliest months of the global pandemic, employers downsized their workforce. Employees hoped their jobs would return. Now months later, employers are struggling to fill 10 million jobs that many of these same employees are refusing. The September jobs report stated we’re still down about 5 million jobs.

Ironically, many Republicans had believed that the stimulus payment checks and increased unemployment benefits wouldn’t motivate people to return to work. Now that these payments are ending, people are still not returning.

Many are asking, how can millions of Americans afford not to work? Others are expressing, “The phenomenal is like nothing else we’ve seen in two decades.”

Employees say they are quitting their jobs because they don’t enjoy working with their coworkers. Nor are they receiving much recognition for their job performance from management. Another top reason is that employees don’t see a direct connection between their work and the organization’s business goals. They don’t find their position challenging and motivating.

More Challenges

Black employees report facing racial discrimination from their employers.

In addition to time spent commuting to a job and earning wages that haven’t kept up with inflation, many employees are against the vaccine mandate. Some frontline employees refuse to risk being affected by COVID. And, a lot of employees are still facing significant difficulties, limiting their ability to return to work.

Nonetheless, many employees re-evaluated their lives while living under a shelter-in-place order. They no longer want to live for the weekend or go to a job every day where they “clock in, sit down, follow orders, and don’t ask questions.” Employees want to break the cycle. They want a balance between their work life and personal life.

Many employees saved and invested their money during the pandemic. And they are no longer requiring a significant portion of their income to be relegating toward work-related and entertainment expenses.

Life coaches suggest that employees considering quitting their jobs develop a plan, think it through, realizing that whatever decision they make, they won’t make lots of money overnight and that bills must still be paid.

— The Vacaville author is a social issues advocate. E-mail: 

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