American workers are quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2001.
The most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from June to July, the number of unfilled jobs rose by 117,000, to 6.94 million, confirming the tightness of the current labor market.
At the same time, however, the number of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs rose to 3.58 million — that's 2.4 percent of the entire U.S. workforce. Bloomberg reports that the last time this many workers quit their jobs was 2001.
These 3.58 million workers are likely making a smart move, says Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at job site Glassdoor. "We're seeing high worker confidence in their ability to strike out and find a better job opportunity elsewhere," says Chamberlain. "For many, it's a smart move, as there's a clear advantage to increasing your earning potential by switching jobs."
According to Brian Kropp, vice president at research firm Gartner, the average increase in compensation for a worker who quits their old job for a new one is about 15 percent. "You're never going to get that 15 percent [increase] by staying at your current job," he tells CNBC Make It. "That's just not going to happen."