Amid high inflation, rising interest rates, and low consumer confidence, there is good reason to be pessimistic about the state of the U.S. economy for the rest of 2022 and 2023. But despite these challenging conditions, one component of the economy that has continued to deliver good news is the labor market.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. sat at 3.5% in September, one of the lowest figures in more than half a century. Despite low unemployment, the economy has added jobs every month dating back to January 2021. These conditions have been advantageous for workers. The “Great Resignation” brought a historic volume of job switching in 2021 and 2022 as people sought out better job opportunities. This tightness in the labor market has pressured employers to raise wages and offer improved working conditions and benefits to compete for talent.
As a result of these trends, workers have been far less likely to face layoffs and discharges than at any other time in the last two decades. Layoffs and discharges spiked dramatically in the spring of 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly discharges totaled more than 13 million in March 2020, representing approximately 80% of separations. Since then, however, layoffs and discharges total less than 1.5 million per month, or less than a quarter of all separations. These recent figures fall well below typical levels dating back to 2000.
The trend of reduced discharge rates extends to businesses in every field. Employers in industries like arts, entertainment, and recreation, retail trade, and accommodation and food services that were highly volatile in earlier phases of the pandemic are now reluctant to let go of employees. Other industries that could contract during a potential recession, like construction, are also discharging employees less than in the steadier economic conditions of 2019. Average monthly discharge rates are also down across businesses of all firm sizes.
Discharge rates are also consistently low across the country, but certain locations are seeing slightly higher levels. Alaska and Wyoming currently have the highest discharge rates, with monthly averages of 1.49% and 1.48% of total employment, respectively. States in the South like Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina and states in the Mountain West like Idaho and Montana also rank highly. In contrast, states including Indiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania have the nation’s lowest discharge rates.
The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To determine the states where existing workers are least likely to lose their jobs, researchers at HireAHelper calculated the average monthly discharge rate across all nonfarm workers in 2022. In the event of a tie, the state with the lower number of total discharges was ranked higher. A discharge represents all involuntary separations, including layoffs, firings, and terminations. Total separations, on the other hand, includes both involuntary and voluntary separations, such as quits and retirement.
Here is a summary of the data for Florida:
Average monthly discharge rate: 0.93%
Average monthly discharges: 87,250
Average monthly total separations: 422,625
Discharges as a percentage of total separations: 20.6%
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
Average monthly discharge rate: 0.91%
Average monthly discharges: 1,393,875
Average monthly total separations: 6,016,875
Discharges as a percentage of total separations: 23.2%
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on HireAHelper’s website: https://www.hireahelper.com/lifestyle/states-where-existing-workers-are-highly-unlikely-to-lose-their-jobs