Obviously, workers move from job to job over time and across sectors of the economy. FRED has some convenient release tables you can use to create a graph like the one above, which shows the rate of voluntary turnover (quits) for workers in four sectors: accommodation and food services, retail trade, manufacturing, and government. It’s striking that the ranking of these sectors doesn’t change despite variations in their levels of employment over time.
The consistency of these and other sectors becomes even more striking once you strip out the seasonal adjustments, as in the graph below, created with another convenient release table. In fact, seasonal variation seems to be stronger than variation caused by the business cycle. For example, people quit more when the unemployment rate is lower.
If we look closely, we can see some details: It’s remarkable that, on a regular basis, monthly quits in accommodation and food services represent about 5% of that workforce. And, in both graphs, the government sector consistently has the lowest quit rate. Given the right circumstances, of course, even consistent patterns can change.
How these graphs were created: Go to the release tables noted above, select the series you want displayed, and click “Add to Graph.”
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.