Americans quitting jobs sign of a ‘Great Upgrade’: Biden economic official

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The record number of Americans quitting their jobs is a sign of a “Great Upgrade” for workers seeking better wages, a member of the White House National Economic Council argued this week.

National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti made the assertion as the Biden administration faces scrutiny over surging inflation and a mixed December jobs report.

“Workers are quitting to go take new, better-paying jobs. It’s not the Great Resignation — it’s the Great Upgrade. And it’s exactly the kind of economy @POTUS said he wanted to help build,” Ramamurti tweeted Monday.

The economist shared a chart from Economic Policy Institute which showed that lower-wage sectors of the economy have the highest “quit rates.”

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, while employers posted 10.6 million job openings, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The “quits rate,” or resignations as a percentage of the workforce, was 3 percent, matching a high set in September.

While the quits data suggested workers are gaining leverage in the labor market, the December jobs report was mixed.

The US economy added just 199,000 jobs in December, well below the 422,000 jobs that analysts expected. At the same time, the unemployment rate sank to 3.9 percent, close to what the Federal Reserve considers to be full employment.

National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti cast a positive light on recent quits data.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, Republicans have focused on surging inflation, which is expected to hit four-decade highs when December data for the consumer price index is released on Wednesday. GOP lawmakers argue inflation has effectively erased wage gains for most Americans.

Biden touted the jobs report as a sign that his economic plan is working.

“There’s been a lot of press coverage about people quitting their jobs,” Biden said at a press conference. “Well, today’s report tells you why: Americans are moving up to better jobs, with better pay, with better benefits. That’s why they’re quitting their jobs.”

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, while employers posted 10.6 million job openings.
EPA/TANNEN MAURY

“This isn’t about workers walking away and refusing to work. It’s about workers able to take a step up to provide for themselves and their families,” he added.

The president also fired back at Republicans, calling claims that he isn’t focused on inflation “malarkey.”