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The Great Resignation

Thu, 06/09/2022

The Great Resignation

Navigating a shifting workforce  

Columbia, S.C. – Recently, there has been considerable focus on “The Great Resignation” and questions about people leaving jobs in droves. However, as experts in labor market information (LMI) for the state, data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce suggest that this much-publicized phenomenon is less of a mass exodus out of the workforce entirely and more of a transition of employees from one job to another.

“An estimated 90,000 South Carolinians quit their job in March 2022, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, which is a record. But, 122,000 were hired that same month. The presence of 189,000 job openings, representing a 37 percent increase from one year prior, no doubt contributed to this churn,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce LMI Director Dr. Bryan Grady.

Many employees are leaving lower-paying jobs for others that offer higher wages. Wage gains have been seen in most economic sectors. Leisure and hospitality have seen the greatest increase over the past two years (+29.1 percent). There has also been above-average growth in weekly earnings in education and health services (+22.9 percent) and construction (+17.0 percent).

“Wage increases have been seen in all 10 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) situated in South Carolina. Weekly earnings have increased most dramatically in the Grand Strand area that includes Myrtle Beach, Conway, and North Myrtle Beach, with that region seeing a 20.6 percent increase over the two previous years. The Sumter, Spartanburg, and Charleston-North Charleston MSAs have also experienced double-digit wage gains. While employees navigate this shift, many employers are reacting at the same time to retain and attract talent, leading to a competitive job market,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey.

The numbers show that many employers are making adjustments to stay ahead of the curve. The average private sector worker made $950.37 per week in April 2022, according to preliminary Current Employment Statistics data co-produced by DEW’s LMI Division and BLS. This represents a 9.2 percent increase in earnings from April 2020, the peak of disruption attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With such a lucrative job market, the state’s unemployment rate recently fell to 3.3 percent. While there has been an increase in job turnover, the data clearly indicate that the number of people working in South Carolina has never been higher,” concluded Grady.

For more information, interested parties can review the data breakdown sheet below, read the latest issue of Trends, and contact with any press inquiries or interview requests for the LMI Division.


The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is putting South Carolinians to work. The agency has four missions: (1) workforce development; (2) free job match employment services; (3) unemployment insurance; and (4) labor market information. All four missions contribute to workforce development. The agency is dedicated to advancing South Carolina through services and programs that meet the needs of our businesses, job seekers, and those looking to advance their careers.


Economic Sector

April 2020


Weekly Earnings

April 2022


Weekly Earnings


Total Private




Goods Producing












Private Service Producing




Trade, Transportation, and Utilities




Financial Activities




Professional and Business Services




Education and Health Services




Leisure and Hospitality




Other Services






Metropolitan Statistical Area

April 2020


Weekly Earnings

April 2022


Weekly Earnings






Charleston-North Charleston, SC




Columbia, SC




Florence, SC




Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC




Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC




Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC




Spartanburg, SC




Sumter, SC




Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC




Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC