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Employed workers leaving labor force in mass exodus despite rise in job openings

Lucas Manfredi

Job openings rose to nearly 7.5 million in March, coming off a nine-month low during the previous month.

The industries that saw the largest gains in job openings include transportation, warehousing, utilities (+87,000), construction (+73,000), real estate and rental and leasing (+57,000). Despite the gains, FOX Business’ Charles Payne notes that about 1.2 million people are leaving the labor force at an alarming rate.

ManpowerGroup North America president Becky Frankiewicz believes that the mass exodus of employees is a result of Americans’ confidence in the robust job market.

“People are confident they can leave the workforce and they can return because there will still jobs here. We are seeing an increase in people leaving to go back to school, which we think is the intersection of reskilling and people needing to learn new trade to come back and be meaningful in employment,” Frankiewicz said on “Making Money” Friday.

Frankiewicz points out that, in addition to the increase we saw in March, April's job opening numbers continue to increase consistently year-over-year. She finds it difficult to believe that 1.2 million people are not pursuing employment when there are endless job opportunities across the entire economy.

However, she also noted that there are many external factors, such as a rough family upbringing or the growing opioid epidemic, that could potentially have a significant negative impact that would limit the number of people participating in the workforce.

“We have unprecedented economic opportunity for jobs and yet we do see pockets of people, where whether it’s because of they didn’t see their parents working, they didn’t have their role model working or in some cases drugs, just not participating in the workforce,” she said. “I know the government is trying to help with that but I honestly think it comes back to the role that parents play and the role we play as employers to make work attractive.”

According to Frankiewicz, there are a growing number of businesses that are stepping in to help train employers and employees in order to acquire the necessary skills to flourish in the economy.

“We’re seeing businesses step in with certifications. Not every job needs a college degree and definitely not every job in America needs a high school degree.”


Ultimately, Frankiewicz says it's everyone's responsibility to make sure the workforce has employers and employees who feel they are ready and equipped to work.

“We have to encourage Americans that there is opportunity for you. Translate your skills into meaningful employment opportunities today, into your resume, and get out there and find something."

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