More Canadians are telling their boss, “take this job and shove it,” and it might surprise you to hear this is good news. This week, Statistics Canada (Stat Can) released the results of its June Labor Force Survey (LFS). Amongst mostly positive data was a point not often discussed — quitting due to dissatisfaction. Workers quitting on their own terms is a positive indicator. After all, not many people quit when they think it’s going to be hard to find a new job. They do it when they’re confident in the market they’re observing.
Why Quitting For Dissatisfaction Is A Good Thing
Most people assume any form of unemployment is a bad thing, and it can be. For a period, a job leaver is likely to reduce their consumption, pay less in taxes, and produce less. It can also be viewed as a positive sign, especially with a low unemployment rate.
People voluntarily quitting their job due to dissatisfaction indicates they aren’t desperate. They do it because they at least perceive other options, and hopefully are feeling out the labor market. It’s not a great feeling to be dissatisfied, but it’s a good feeling to know options exist. They assume they won’t be unemployed long-term and are confident in the labor market.
Makes sense and sounds positive, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s one of those hidden economic indicators.
More Canadians Are Quitting Due To Dissatisfaction
The Canadian labor market is definitely a different scene compared to last year. Stat Can’s LFS shows 139,000 people quit due to dissatisfaction in June. This is down a slight 7.9% (12,000 people) from a month before, but a minor blip compared to the 62.8% (53,600 people) annual growth. Short-term erosion but medium term improvements are positive.
A Larger Share of Workers Are Voluntarily Quitting, Fewer Due To Circumstance
The share of those quitting due to dissatisfaction compared to other reasons, is on the rise. Those who left due to dissatisfaction represented 14.2% of job leavers in June. It was 3.4 points higher than last year, a substantial improvement. We’re looking at over double the rate at the record low reached in November 2020.
More Canadians Are Quitting Due To Job Dissatisfaction
The share of Canadian job quitters who cite “dissatisfaction” as the reason.
Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.
The long-term trend reveals the long-term damage from the Great Recession. Right around 2010, dissatisfied quitters fell to a lower level for the whole decade. There are various other reasons people quit, including illness and family-based disruption. The other reasons aren’t great, so erosion of this indicator is never good.
Generally speaking, the trend of quitters is improving compared to the start of the 2020s. It’s still far from the 2000s-era levels of high economic mobility. With levels recovering from all-time lows, it’s worth paying attention to these numbers. Especially when clouds are darkening over the economy.