Sustainability Infrastructure

Workers are quitting these industries the most, new study shows

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows fast food workers, waiters and chefs are fleeing the jobs at the highest rates.
Money is exchanged at a food stand while workers wear face masks inside Grand Central Market on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. Falling gas prices gave Americans a slight break from the pain of high inflation last month, though the surge in overall prices slowed only modestly from the four-decade high it reached in June. And even as gas prices fall, inflation in services such as health care, rents and restaurant meals is accelerating. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Story at a glance


  • Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, SmallPDF crafted a report breaking down the 10 industries losing the most workers.

  • The study further proves that American workers are quitting their jobs at higher rates than in years prior.  

  •  The study found that the accommodation and food service industry are losing workers at the highest rate out of all industries.  

Fast food workers, waiters and chefs are playing a major part in the nation’s Great Resignation by quitting at the highest rate out of U.S. employees in any other industry.  

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the document management tool company SmallPDF tabulated which sectors are losing workers at the highest rate.  

“The news has been filled with stories about unionizing within companies, striking and more due to wages and treatment issues from employees, and this data highlights which industries are losing the largest part of their workforce,” a spokesperson from SmallPDF said. 


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For the report, the company looked at the total number of employees quitting in each industry every month between April and August of this year.  

As a result, SmallPDF found that the accommodation and food service industry lost an average of 5.8 percent of its workforce during that time period with more than 773,600 employees leaving every month for those five months.  

More than 128,000 workers left the industry in August of this year compared to the same month last year, marking a “massive change” in staff, study crafters noted.  

Cashiers, customer service representatives and stock clerks are also leaving their jobs in droves.  

The report found that the retail trade industry experienced the highest quit rate between April and August of this year, with an average of 600,400 employees leaving their jobs every month.  

That number translates to an average quit rate of 3.82 percent a month, according to study crafters.  

But that number is smaller than the average amount of retail workers leaving their posts compared to last year. About 109,000 fewer retail workers quit their jobs this past August compared to the same time last year.  

The arts, entertainment and recreation industry had the highest quit rate during the study period at 3.58 percent with about 82,200 workers leaving the industry every month between April and August.  

About 7,000 more workers like musicians, fitness trainers and recreation attendants left their jobs in August 2022 compared to August 2021.  

Here are the 10 industries losing the most workers according to the study:  

# Industry Monthly average quit levels Average quit rate per month % (April 2022 to August 2022) Aug 21 to Aug 22, quit levels change 
1 Accommodation and food services 773,600 5.80% +128,000 
2 Retail trade 600,400 3.82% -109,000 
3 Arts, entertainment, and recreation 82,200 3.58% +7,000 
4 Professional and business services 754,000 3.36% -63,000 
5 Transportation, warehousing, and utilities 199,400 2.82% +32,000 
6 Construction 212,600 2.78% +40,000 
7 Health care and social assistance 520,800 2.52% -44,000 
8 Manufacturing 309,800 2.42% +2,000 
9 Education and health services 581,800 2.40% -47,000 
10 Mining and logging 14,400 2.30% +3,000