New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that voluntary quits among tech professionals rose slightly in October.
In the Professional and Business Services category (which encompasses a broad range of tech jobs), some 508,000 professionals voluntarily quit that month, up from 489,000 in September. That’s also slightly down from October 2014, when 537,000 professionals decided to leave their jobs of their own volition.
The BLS depends on its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program to surface the data related to voluntary quits.
As previously noted, pundits and analysts generally view voluntary quits as an indicator of an industry’s health. In theory, when workers view their industry as sickly and tumultuous, they tend to stick to their current positions, even if they hate where they work; when their industry is doing well, on the other hand, they start leaving their jobs in search of better opportunities at other companies.
Workers may also quit their jobs in order to freelance. According to a recent survey by Upwork and the Freelancers Union (and conducted by research firm Edelman Berland), a majority of surveyed adults said they earned more freelancing than they did in traditional employment; three quarters suggested that technology had made it easier to find and earn new work.
The BLS also recently announced that unemployment in the tech sector hit 3.4 percent in November, up from 2.8 percent in October. That’s a significant adjustment from November 2014, when the rate held at a mere 2.0 percent.