Americans continued to leave their jobs in high numbers even as the labor market grew hotter this fall, a sign the economy has maintained its momentum despite the pandemic.
The Labor Department said on Wednesday that 4.2 million people quit their jobs in October, a decline of about 205,000 from September but still close to a record high.
Job openings rose by 431,000 to 11 million, paced by a 254,000 jump in positions in the accommodation and food services industries. These sectors have been pummeled by the pandemic, but have recovered a bit as cases caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus showed signs of easing in some places. The number of job openings was also close to a record high.
The data was collected well before the emergence of the Omicron variant. Still, the level of turnover in the labor market suggests that job seekers have more power and greater prospects than they have had in quite some time. Most economists expect hiring to remain healthy in the months ahead.