Half as likely as Alaska
The Great Resignation, broken down by states. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
We’ve heard a lot recently about the Great Resignation. I’ve written about it myself. But until last week, I had assumed something that apparently was not true.
I had thought this was an American phenomenon; something taking place across the entire United States. I suspected that overall the odds of someone having left a job in, say, Alaska would have been roughly the same as in New York.
Then, out of nowhere, the folks at WalletHub came at me with a data compilation that leaves me scratching my head.
In short, they ranked the U.S. states (plus DC; can’t forget DC) by the percentage of workers who left their jobs—both in the most recent month for which data was available (I think January), and by last year as a whole. There were some surprises.
Here’s a link to their whole list. But for our purposes (so that this newsletter doesn’t run too long to open in most email clients, and also so I don’t completely violate copyright law), here are just the top 10 and bottom 10 states:
10 states with highest resignation rates in 2021:
Alaska, 3.98% of all workers quit their jobs during 2021
South Carolina, Wyoming, and Idaho, all tied for 8th at 3.28%
10 states with lowest resignation rates in 2021:
Washington, DC, 2.60%
California, New Jersey, and Washington. State, all tied at 2.50%
New York, 1.80%
Observations and questions
I wonder if you see some of the same things that I saw:
First off, there’s a much bigger disparity than I would have guessed. To use the example with which I started this newsletter, it turns out that an Alaskan worker was more than twice as likely to quit as a New Yorker during 2021.
Second, it’s not 100%, but you can’t help but notice that there are more “red” states at the top of the list (meaning workers were more likely to quit) and more “blue” states at the bottom (less likely). I almost didn’t want to include this observation since I try to keep politics out of this newsletter, but it’s pretty stark—especially on the “didn’t quit” end.
Finally, I tend to think of the low-quitting states as more urban (New York, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey). Maybe the cost of living is higher, and people have less opportunity to quit? Although, a lot more Americans live in urban areas than maybe we tend to think; heck, even in Alaska, something like 40 percent of the population lives in Anchorage.
Anyway, I pored over these numbers, and as I tried without success to find a true pattern, I thought: Why not do the easy thing? Why not ask the readers?
We’ve now proven that I can mention almost any place in the U.S. or Canada and find that we have at least one reader who either lives there or has done so in the past.
(In case you don’t want to click through there, my example is about mentioning “a Tim Horton’s in Yellowknife,” only to have a reader email me to say that not only has he lived in Yellowknife, but he’s spent plenty of time at Tim Horton’s there.)
Anyway, let’s dive in? Here’s a link to the data again if you want to click through.
Or else, just think about where you live, and the people you know. Does it feel as if there’s been a “Great Resignation” going on around you? Or are you not at all surprised to learn that it’s different in other places? Let us know in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
Interesting article by my journalistic alma mater, Stars & Stripes, about a difficult job right now at the high levels of the U.S. military: keeping lines of communication open with their Russian counterparts so that the United States and its 29 allied nations in NATO don’t accidentally wind up in a shooting war with Russia over a mistake—say an errant missile hitting NATO territory. (Stars & Stripes)
Amid a growing consensus that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is morphing into a bloody stalemate that could last months, Ukrainian officials blamed the Kremlin for bombing an art school in the embattled port city of Mariupol where hundreds had taken shelter. Ukrainian officials also accused Russian forces of seizing and deporting several thousand Mariupol residents against their will to "remote cities in Russia." (LA Times)
A Russian oligarch’s yacht remains stuck in Norway because nobody will agree to sell it fuel. (Fox News)
Confirmation hearings begin today for Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s first nominee to the Supreme Court. They’re scheduled to run through Thursday. Separately, Justice Clarence Thomas, 73, has been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms since Friday. He’s expected to recover, but will miss some oral arguments. (WashPost, NBC News)
A Scottish judge is refusing to extradite a local teenager to Texas, where he’s charged with shooting a security guard at a fraternity party, on the grounds that Texas prisons are so bad that sending him there would be an international human rights violation. (The Marshall Project)
A professor sued his class, after he realized that one of his students had uploaded his old tests and exams to a website that charges students to get access to materials. He says the goal isn’t necessarily monetary damages, but the ability to issue a subpoena to the website and identify the student or students who shared his teaching materials. (NYT, it’s behind a paywall normally but I used the gift function; please let me know if this works!)
“Why do you want to close a Chick-fil-A?” Officials in Santa Barbara, California are considering declaring the city's only Chick-fil-A restaurant a "public nuisance" and banning its drive-thru due to the huge lines that snake around the block. (Insider)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Oh, just a screenshot from Google Maps. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.