Input Stories

Input Stories

In Manufacturing, “Great Resignation” Really a “Great Retirement”

In keeping with the latest jobs numbers, a recent Manufacturing Institute survey has found that for the industry, “The Great Resignation” is really more of a “Great Retirement.” 

The government numbers: There were 808,000 manufacturing job openings in February, down from January’s 859,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. February’s number is also down from the manufacturing sector’s 11-month average of 867,000.

  • However, the number of manufacturing quits rose from 315,000 in January to 337,000 in February, which is a new record.

Survey data: In the MI’s February survey of 3,000 Americans:

  • Eighty-two percent of survey respondents who left a manufacturing job in the past six months retired due to age or for health-related reasons.
  • The remaining 18% resigned or were laid off.
  • Of the 18% who resigned or were laid off, 73% are back to work in a different manufacturing job, 7% are working in a different industry and 20% are still looking for work.

Why it matters:

  • The MI’s survey suggests that retirements are a bigger issue than quits, at least among respondents.
  • The majority of those who are quitting are remaining in manufacturing.

The NAM’s take: “For many Americans, the pandemic has forced a realignment of priorities in terms of work–life balance, including increased retirement rates,” said MI Center for Manufacturing Research Director Chad Moutray.

  • “While overall quit rates remain elevated, there is some comfort in knowing that a fair share of these separations stem from workers opting to retire. This exacerbates the workforce shortages that manufacturers and other businesses are experiencing, but it is also consistent with overall demographic trends, albeit one that might have been somewhat accelerated for some workers. In addition, the tight labor market has encouraged some workers to explore other opportunities, and there is also comfort in knowing that these employees are remaining in-sector, at least according to our survey.”
View More