Workers are quitting their jobs at a rate not seen since dotcom bubble

Last Updated Jul 10, 2018 2:19 PM EDT

Americans are quitting their jobs at a record rate, with the proportion of workers leaving their jobs reaching the highest level in over 17 years, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

Despite a tick down in the number of open jobs, there are still more open jobs than there are unemployed people—only the second time in two decades that has happened.

Businesses advertised 6.64 million available jobs in May, down from 6.84 million the month before. But there were only 6.1 million unemployed people.  

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The proportion of workers quitting their jobs, known as the quit rate, reached the highest level since April 2001. Quits are seen as a positive sign that workers are confident they can find another job. Most people who quit do so for higher-paying positions.

The figures reflect a strong job market driven by optimistic employers seeking to expand their workforces. Last week's jobs report showed that businesses hired workers at a healthy pace and the unemployment rate remained very low, at 4 percent.