Millennials are just like any other generation. That might conflict with their self-image, but every generation is more like previous generations than they are different.
You may recall the “yuppies.” In the 1980s, yuppies were young, college-educated and ambitious. They enjoyed good-paying jobs and dressed in the latest styles. They were hipsters without craft beer (they preferred imported beers).
Yuppies believed the world would change to suit them. In the end, they changed to meet the requirements of everyday life.
Now millennials seem to believe history started with their births. They (and the younger Generation Z) want to work remotely and enjoy work-life balance. If a company won’t allow that, they quit as part of the “Great Resignation.”
Economists at the Federal Reserve compared current quit rates to previous peaks in an older data series, the Manufacturing Labor Turnover Survey (MLTS). Peaks in 1948 and 1973 are similar to today’s level.
Millennial Great Resignation Is Normal
There are differences in the data. The data series available today, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), is more comprehensive. But it includes a series for manufacturing which closely tracks trends in the broader data. This leads to the conclusion that the older data is suitable for comparison.
Based on the data, we see that the millennial-driven Great Resignation isn’t unique. There have always been increases in the number of workers quitting during recovery from a recession.
What is different this time is that workers are posting TikTok videos about their decision. Time will tell if that decision hinders their careers in the future. In the past, speaking ill of employers was something that could cause future employers to choose someone else. Maybe this time is different. After all, the videos are made by millennials.
Michael Carr is the editor of True Options Masters, One Trade, Peak Velocity Trader and Precision Profits. He teaches technical analysis and quantitative technical analysis at the New York Institute of Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCarrGuru.