More than half a million healthcare workers quit their jobs in August amid a surge of Delta variant COVID-19 cases, according to a report from the Labor Department.
In a job openings and labor turnover survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Tuesday, data showed that in August the number of people who quit increased to 4.3 million — the highest on record since December 2000.
About 534,000 healthcare workers quit their jobs in August, up from about 404,000 during the same month in 2020.
The numbers suggest healthcare workers handed in their resignations in droves — fueling ongoing concerns of staffing shortages — as the highly contagious Delta variant caused COVID-19 hospitalizations to soar across the U.S. over the summer, Newsweek reported.
The number of people who quit also rose the most in the South and Midwest, the government said, the two regions with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in August, ABC News reported.
About 892,000 people quit their jobs in hotels, bars, and restaurants, up about 21% from July and almost twice as many as in August 2020. About 721,000 Americans quit retail jobs.
On Friday, the government said job gains were weak for a second straight month in September, with only 194,000 jobs added, though the unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2%. Friday's hiring figure is a net total, after quits, retirements, and layoffs are taken into account, ABC News reported.
Tuesday's report showed hiring slowed in August, while the number of jobs available fell to 10.4 million, from a record high of 11.1 million in July. The largest decreases in job openings included healthcare and social assistance, the figures showed.
The data is not likely to have picked up the impact of vaccine mandates, Newsweek noted.
President Joe Biden last month announced new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as healthcare workers and federal contractors.
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