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South Carolina workers quitting their jobs at high rates

The state's Department of Employment and Workforce reported that 70,000 South Carolinians quit their jobs every month last year.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Nationwide, people are quitting their jobs at record numbers, and in South Carolina, the trends are no different. 

Over the last year, according to the state's Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), South Carolina saw a big uptick in workers quitting jobs.

“We averaged in South Carolina, nearly 70,000 quits per month. So about 3% of our workforce in any given month, was quitting, not necessarily to leave completely, but maybe quitting for a different job in a different industry,” said Erica Von Nessen, an economist for the agency.

Von Nessen said the labor shortage has helped contribute to the so-called “Great Resignation” because it can give employees the upper hand.

“People are looking around and saying, 'Hey, there's ‘help wanted’ signs everywhere. Now is a good time for me to look to see if I can find the right fit, right wage, the right hours, the right flexibility, things like that,'” Von Nessen said.

South Carolina’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.5% in spring 2020, in March 2022, it stands at 3.6%. That means most job searchers are employed, which according to Von Nessen, makes it easier to look around. 

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Google Trends expert Sarah Armstrong added that South Carolinians are searching for advice on how to leave their jobs and find better opportunities.

"When you look at Google specifically, searches for how to quit your job reached an all-time high last year and just the whole category of resignations, we haven’t seen that level of search interest before,” said Armstrong.

Google Trends shows some of the top jobs searched for in South Carolina were how to become a notary or a flight attendant. Many South Carolinians showed interest in enrolling in technical colleges to learn a specific trade. Plus, a top search nationwide has been for remote jobs that allow work from home.

"I think, after two years of the pandemic working from home, people want to be their own boss and notary is a great way to have a side gig," Armstrong said. "[You can] set your own hours, so that’s a big trend we’re seeing in the state."

Von Nessen added that while South Carolina’s labor force is growing, the state’s total population is growing faster, which makes it harder for businesses to keep up with the demand.

DEW has more than 100,000 jobs posted on its website.

Plus, the agency runs SC Works Centers across the state that help with resume building and job training. Click here to look up centers in your area.

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