Currently there are approximately 2.6 mln people leaving their jobs each month – the same level as in the pre 9/11 economy – while job openings have increased by almost 500k positions since last summer, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. In March, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, and for college-educated workers the figure has dropped to 2.2%. Unemployment for knowledge workers is lower than it has been in years: 3.0% in 2003 vs. 2.2% in 2006.
Employers have squeezed extra productivity out of workers, but those gains are coming to an end: more than 3.5% productivity growth in 2003; just 1.5 % projected in 2007. Increasingly, overworked employees are sensing a turn in the job market and are heading for the exits: approximately 2 mln people quit their jobs in 2003 vs. more than 2.5 mln in 2006. Job-hoppers are finding plenty of places to land as the number of job openings has been surging: less than 3 mln job openings in 2003 vs. more than 4 mln in 2006.