Americans looking for post-pandemic change quitting jobs at record pace

A record number of workers are resigning from their jobs, marking a new workforce trend that is taking shape across the country and experts say it's directly connected to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 4 million people quit their jobs in April. Just last month, CareerSource Tampa Bay had about 95,000 job postings in Hillsborough County, which CEO John Flanagan said is the most the agency has ever had.

"The pandemic has changed the way people think about work. They want more flexibility. They want more telework opportunities," said Flanagan, whose agency is part of the statewide workforce network that helps connect employers with prospective employees. "We knew before the pandemic happened that there was a labor and talent shortage. Just by looking at the number of job postings available versus the number of people looking for work, there were more job postings than people. That's exacerbated [now]."

The majority of the resignations have come in the hospitality and service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues: roughly 740,000 people decided to leave those fields.

Flanagan said this is a great time to be a job-seeker.

"You have a little bit more control and you can kind of set out to set your price. But you've got some bargaining power as a job seeker right now," he told FOX 13.

Kara Mae Adamo, who worked in the service industry for nearly 20 years, said the pandemic made her realize the time was right to change careers. She now works as a mobile app content creator and designer in Orlando.

"I like being able to work remotely. I like that I can travel now. And it's been an easier transition than I thought it would be," she said. "This has sort of been like a wake-up call. Now that your norm, it doesn't exist, it's not on the table. What do you want your norm to look like? I think all of us have kind of reevaluated ourselves and what we want our lives to include."

Flanagan said he doesn't believe this will be a short-term phenomenon; he believes the trend of workers transitioning from one career to another will continue for a year or two.