President Trump wants you to quit your job! Well, not really; but the White House’s tax cuts and rollback of onerous regulations have encouraged millions of Americans to do just that.
The economy is booming, opportunities are opening up all over the place, and workers are responding, by quitting in record numbers.
This may be bad news for Democrats hoping to take over Congress in November. They have no economic agenda that can compete with a buoyant jobs market that is making the American Dream come true.
But, it is great news for American workers.
The government reports that some 3.56 million people voluntarily left their workplace in May, up from 3.35 million in April; that’s the highest number recorded since at least 2000. The “quits rate” — that is, the percentage of employed people walking out the door — totaled 2.4 percent in May, a 17-year high.
That’s just one more indication of just how crazy strong the jobs situation is today, and one more cause for celebration. Why is it good news that millions are saying “so long!” to their bosses? Because people only quit their jobs when they are confident in finding a new one and when they are hopeful of a pay raise. Today, they have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
First off, the June jobs report was a stunner, with 213,000 jobs added, compared to an expected 195,000. Employment grew in most sectors, including manufacturing, which logged a 36,000 jump. Over the past year, we have added 285,000 individuals working in manufacturing.
Also, in May, there were more job openings than people looking for work — for the first time ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 6.1 million job seekers, while employers listed 6.6 million positions available.
That puts workers in the drivers’ seat. After more than a decade of stagnant wages, employers are beginning to have to pay up for the hires they want.
That conclusion is buttressed by surveys of business owners whose expectations about their prospects and about their hiring plans remain at historic highs. The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) CEO said that, “Small business owners continue to report astounding optimism as they celebrate strong sales, the creation of jobs, and more profits.”
The group’s latest read shows their optimism index since the end of last year averaging “an unprecedented 105.4, well above the 45-year average of 98 and rivaling the all-time high of 108.0 in July 1983.”
Workers should be especially cheered that the NFIB’s June Jobs Report indicated that nearly two-thirds of its members were hiring or trying to hire people, the highest number in 19 years.
It’s more good news that most of those folks (87 percent) reported difficulty finding trained or qualified workers. If you have skills today and a credible work history, there are jobs waiting for you.
But, there are also jobs waiting for those who traditionally might not easily have found work. While unemployment among those who have not finished high school is always higher than for college graduates, the gap is narrowing as more companies are scrambling to fill posts.
Five years ago, unemployment for high-school dropouts was 11 percent, while for college grads it was 3.9 percent. In June, only 4.8 percent of individuals who had never graduated high school were not working, compared to 2.4 percent for those with a college degree.
Unemployment has fallen for African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians. In the second quarter of this year, the jobless rate for black teens averaged 23.1 percent, down from 25.9 percent a year ago. That’s called progress.
The opportunity to get a job is pulling unemployed people off the sidelines in droves. In the latest report, the jobless rate ticked higher because some 600,000 people re-entered the workforce. That is great news for employers who are struggling to fill job, and great news for the economy, too.
For months, analysts have been worried that we were running out of workers, as unemployment dropped to historically low levels.
There is no denying that the improving jobs situation is a direct result of rising optimism among consumers, business managers and owners. And it is clear that the rosier outlook began almost immediately after President Trump was elected.
Democrats are still in denial about the damage done by President Obama’s anti-business agenda. They refuse to acknowledge that the threat of over-reaching and capricious regulations shook confidence and undermined the animal spirits of the U.S. economy.
Because they still refuse to connect those dots, Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are advocating a return to those years, replete with ramped-up government interference and micromanaging, as well as higher taxes.
That may play well for the editorial boards of our liberal media, but workers hoping to increase their incomes, who are responding to higher pay and lower taxes, are unlikely to climb aboard.
Published on The Hill