“The Great Resignation” a myth, says local workforce development leader

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 3:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Across the country, 2021 is being referred to as “The Great Resignation.”

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a record 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in November. And that’s on the heels of millions more in the months before.

But as executive director for Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Matt Valiquette isn’t a big fan of the term “Great Resignation.”

“It’s a popular word people have used, but it’s really a myth if you look at the data,” says Valiquette.

Data that show 10 percent fewer people 65 and older are working today than before the pandemic.

“The preponderance of these folks fall within that 65 or older group, right? So we say they’ve quit, they’ve resigned. No, they’ve retired,” says Valiquette.

As for those who have recently quit their jobs, Valiquette says the reason is pretty simple: They’ve taken a better paying one.

“We’ve got folks that we know that are in our communities across our 11 county region that could certainly benefit. This is unprecedented time of opportunity for folks that are looking to enter the workforce or improve their situation in the workforce and we’re seeing that,” explains Villaquette.

Which is leaving very few workers on the sidelines. Right now, Northeast Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is just 3.1 percent.

“Our overall unemployment rate is actually lower that it was before the pandemic, which is a healthy indicator, but if you’re an employer looking for talent, that’s a concern,” says Vilaquette.

Valiquette says just about every industry is facing a labor shortage, and to attract workers more willing than ever to seek better opportunities, employers are adjusting.

“Right at the top of the list, and you’ve seen it, is increasing wages, making sure folks are being paid commensurate to their responsibilities. No one wants to work and be poor or struggle to pay their bills. And the other things is adapting more flexible work schedules,” says Vilaquette.

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.