Comp News – It’s hard to drive through an American city without passing an ocean of signs for retail and restaurant businesses proclaiming similar offers:

“Hiring Now!”

“Sign-on Bonuses!”

“Employment Starting At $X/Hour!”

Retail workers, burnt out by a year of pandemic stress and low-wage work, are migrating to other fields of work in record numbers. And their previous employers can’t replace them fast enough.

Americans are ditching their jobs by the millions, and retail is leading the way with the largest increase in resignations of any sector. Some 649,000 retail workers put in their notice in April, the industry’s largest one-month exodus since the Labor Department began tracking such data more than 20 years ago.


Some are finding less stressful positions at insurance agencies, marijuana dispensaries, banks and local governments, where their customer service skills are rewarded with higher wages and better benefits. Others are going back to school to learn new trades, or waiting until they are able to secure reliable child care.

Labor economist Julia Pollak says that the labor market is driving conditions that incentivize workers to swap jobs at their leisure.

“In a tight labor market, we often see big shifts among workers with low earnings,” she said. “If you’re making $12 an hour and there’s a job down the street offering $12.50, why not jump? There’s no reason not to — which is what’s happening now.”

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