American workers don’t want to go back to normal, and that makes sense

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The past 15 months has been a reckoning for everyone. The pandemic forced families to re-order their health, family and work obligations. Schools closed. Child care and elder care was disrupted.

Today, as the engine of the American economy revs back to life, it’s not as simple as plugging workers right back into the jobs they left.

Here’s the evidence.

Record job openings

Layoffs are slowing and the economy is adding jobs, but the Labor Department reported a record 9.3 million job openings in April, an unheard-of figure.

“You think about all these companies trying to turn on the lights at full capacity at the same time,” says Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist. “There are some dislocations in the jobs market because everybody’s hiring at the same time.”

The so-called quit rate

More people are quitting their jobs than any time in the past 20 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Four million people quit their jobs in April.

It’s a sign of…

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