The saying is that nobody likes a quitter. But that can’t be right, given the near-record number of workers quitting their jobs, according to data released by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Tuesday.
In May, the U.S. quit rate, or the proportion of workers quitting their jobs, reached the highest level since 2001. A high quit rate is a sign of optimism, with workers feeling confident they can find a better job (or at least another one).
To that point, the BLS report includes another interesting statistic: Thanks to many Americans’ confidence in the job market, most people quitting their jobs are doing so in order to take more lucrative gigs.
The report also shows that May marked the second time in two decades there were more jobs available than people unemployed. Employers advertised 6.84 million available jobs in April. In May, there were 6.64 million jobs advertised—when there were only 6.1 million unemployed people.
Tuesday’s report follows surprising last month’s surprising news that the percentage of so-called gig economy contractors in the workforce has declined in the past 12 years. That data, however, did not take into account the many types of side hustles that workers pick up in addition to their full-time jobs.