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'It's time to go': Arizonans among millions quitting and searching for new work

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, in November 2021, 4.5 million people quit, which was a record high.

ARIZONA, USA — There are signs up on businesses around the nation, many advertising they have jobs available, while others call for patience or give an explanation to their altered business hours because of a lack of staff. 

They’re literal signs of what’s being called the “Great Resignation”, employees leaving their jobs and searching for something better.

Millions quitting

“It was a bunch of little things started to add up to show me like, ‘Hey, it’s time to go,’" Matthew Wheeler said.

Wheeler described those ‘little things’ as signs that pointed him to leave his profitable job of almost 10 years at CenturyLink.

“The pandemic changed the workforce a lot,” Wheeler said.

Instead of leaving his photography business, Matthew Wheeler Photography, on the side, he’s now working it full-time.

“Now I’m closing in on almost 200 weddings,” Wheeler said.

He’s one of the millions in the United States who have decided to leave their jobs.

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, in November 2021, 4.5 million people quit, which was a record high.

Businesses struggling to hire

Businesses trying to recruit are having a hard time, too.

“As I’m talking with clients, it’s getting so hard to compete – especially in the technology space,” Kathleen Duffy, president and CEO of Duffy Group, a recruitment firm in the Valley, said.

Duffy said there are a host of reasons employees are leaving, from remote work options to vaccine mandates and mental health.

She said business leaders need to talk with their current employees in hopes of not losing them to another company or career.

“We need to find out how they’re feeling, what do they like about their job, what are they looking to do. We need to be much more proactive and make sure that they stay with us,” Duffy said.

A better gig

Wheeler is now almost four months in with wedding and portrait photography being his one and only job.

“It’s nice to work on the weekends and have the week off, hang out with my kids more,” Wheeler said.

Instead of having to fit his side business in around his regular work hours and staying up until the wee hours of the morning editing photos, Wheeler has found a better balance.  

“My mental health has gone way up, and everything has gone way up,” Wheeler said.

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