Which Industry Workers Change Jobs the Most and Where do they go? A Review of J2J Explorer Data to Understand Job Mobility in NC Industries

During Q1 2021, NC saw more than 219,000 workers start new jobs. LEAD staff reviewed Census data to understand the NC industries that are most impacted by this job switching.

Author: Jamie Vaughn

There has been a lot of discussion about the great resignation and workers changing jobs recently.  To help better understand the patterns and industries most affected in NC, we reviewed Q1 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Job-to-Job Flows Explorer (J2J Explorer).  The data tracks employed workers from all over the U.S., including NC, who immediately moved into employment with a different employer located in NC. It does not include workers who gained employment after a period of nonemployment lasting at least one quarter.

In the study period, NC saw 219,000 workers move into a new job – whether in the same industry or in a different one.  Job changing was mostly concentrated in five industries: Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services (34,000 workers); Retail Trade (28,000); Accommodation and Food Services (nearly 26,000); Health Care and Social Assistance (24,000); and Manufacturing (21,000).

Of the 219,000 NC job changers in Q1 2021, a little over 60% of all job switchers moved from Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, Retail Trade, Accommodation and Food Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Manufacturing.

For those changing jobs in the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services1,  nearly one out of three workers stayed in this industry when changing jobs. The remaining two-thirds transitioned to a variety of industries with no one industry standing out – most likely due to employment services/temp agencies being a part of this industry. This is somewhat unique compared to job changers from other NC industries, which see a dominant alternative industry that workers transition to.

Retail Trade workers who change jobs tend to stay with either Retail Trade or transition to Accommodation and Food Services – another industry with an abundance of jobs with low barriers to entry.  Almost three out of every five job switchers moved into a job in one of those two industries. 

Similarly, it’s fairly common for workers in Accommodation & Food Services to move to Retail if they change industries. Almost half of the workers that started in the Accommodation & Food Services Industry, and changed jobs, stayed in the industry. One in five workers who left their jobs transferred to a job in Retail Trade.  Overall, more than three out of every five job switchers in Accommodation and Food Services either stay in this industry or move to Retail Trade.

When it comes to job changers, workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance Industry stay in the same industry at a rate higher than any other (including industries not presented in this post). More than half of the workers in the Health Care & Social Assistance Industry that moved to a different job stayed in the industry. The next highest destination industry was the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services. 

Finally, one third of Manufacturing workers that changed jobs stayed in the industry, with another 20% moving to the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Industry – which most likely was into a temporary position.  These top two transfer destinations combined represent a little more than half of the job transfers in Manufacturing.

The goal of this analysis is to understand the patterns of job changers and how it affects the state job market.  For the five industries highlighted in this blog, about a third of workers stay in the same industry when changing jobs, with the next largest destination industry being one of Retail Trade, Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, or Accommodation and Food Services.  

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Industry ranked within the top three destination industries for job changers. A potential reason for this is that Employment Services (Temporary Help Services) is a subsector of this industry. It is known that employers often rely on temp workers to provide greater flexibility in uncertain economic times.  It also may suggest that workers utilize Temporary Services to gain experience and ease their transition to a new industry, although the data cannot support this hypothesis. 

Due to data limitation, this analysis is not able to identify job changers by occupation. For example, if an accountant working for a manufacturer switches to a job in a wholesale company, this transition will show in the Job-to-Job (J2J) Flows data as an individual moving between industries - from Manufacturing to Wholesale Trade; and not an occupation (accountant) moving between industries. This limitation prevents the analysis from determining if workers in particular occupations are more prone to job switching than others (e.g. high demand occupations like software developers, computer programmers who are employed in a number of industries). 

The preliminary findings using data in the J2J Explorer can provide useful information to help workforce professionals and employers understand worker flows across industries and plan for recruitment efforts.  Look for further research from LEAD to try to understand why over half of the workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance Industry stay in the same industry or to break out job changers by demographic characteristic(s) and/or earnings level by industry.

1For a definition of the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Industry, refer the industry’s BLS Industry at a Glance page.

 

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