BLS data shows that enterprises with more than 5,000 employees had a quit rate of 1.1%, less than half that of any other size of company. Large companies employ just over one-third of all U.S. workers, and they're found in all types of industries across the economy.
The next-smallest quit rate, at 2.3%, is actually for the tiniest companies, those with between 1 and 9 employees. Many of them are likely to have a very small staff—even just one or two people—who are partners in the operation. For them, quitting could mean closing the business rather than walking out the door of a business that would continue after their departure.
Companies with between 1,000 and 4,999 employees are next, with 2.6% of employees quitting in August 2022, followed by firms with 250 to 999 workers, at 2.9%.
Smaller companies—but those large enough not to be staffed only by key partners—had higher rates. Those with 10 to 49 employees saw 3.2% of workers leave in August 2022. And the next-largest companies, with 50 to 249 workers, had the highest rate, at 3.6%.
Perhaps the key factor is sensitivity to risk. Large companies tend to attract risk-averse people who may be less interested in changing jobs in a time of economic uncertainty. And large companies may be better prepared to weather financial troubles. By contrast, more risk-tolerant people tend to work at smaller companies, where they may also know the owner and have a really solid view of how the business is really going.
In the August 2022 data, quit rates do seem to be returning to pre-pandemic levels. That could be a sign the Great Resignation is slowing down. But other factors may be at play, too: The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says that quit rates decrease as threats of recession increase, meaning people could be staying put out of concerns that a recession is coming to the U.S. economy.
This story originally appeared on Sana and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.