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Welcome to the Great Resignation.
Amid a flurry of job openings across the U.S., workers are quitting their jobs en masse.
A record 4 million people quit their jobs in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And many others are considering joining them. In a recent poll of 649 employed workers, Monster found that 95% were considering quitting their jobs and 92% were willing to switch industries for a new role.
just quit my job, best feeling in the world, can i get an amen— alli perez (@LilAFrxmThePack) July 1, 2021
Going back to the office makes we want to quit my job— ✚✖ (0%) (@mariatellaa) July 2, 2021
Jacqueline Moreno, 22, quit her sales job in the Austin office of a publicly traded financial advisory firm on June 8, despite not having a new job lined up. She had accepted the position after graduating from Texas State University with a degree in public relations in the early months of the pandemic. But she found the role wasn't a good fit. Her starting position as a contractor routinely had her working 55 to 60 hours a week, and she struggled to make ends meet, applying for food stamps. "I want to be happy and not dread going to work," she said.
Moreno's not alone. Workers are looking for better pay, remote options and work-life balance. Some have built up a financial safety net with stimulus payments that allows them to spend time between jobs. Others are worried about workplace safety given the lingering pandemic, and many are burnt out or acting on pent-up frustrations.
"Combined, higher employee burnout and enhanced financial security is a recipe for increased resignations," Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, wrote in a May 30 opinion piece for NBC News.
The labor market is also hot, which means workers feel confident they will be able to find a new and better job. "Whenever openings are higher, quits are higher," according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Before quitting, Moreno spent about a month clandestinely applying for jobs in the public relations and communications sector. She has received two offers but turned them down. "There's a lot of job openings," she said. "I just want to make sure I'm finding a really good fit, long term."
Employers in Austin and around the country are offering higher wages and improved benefits in an effort to recruit and retain workers.
- P. Terry's and JuiceLand recently raised their wages, the latter in response to an ongoing worker strike.
- The median pay for Austin Uber drivers is $33 an hour, before tips, according to the company's first-quarter earnings call in May.
- Local startup Dosh debuted Dosh Days—a surprise, company-wide Friday off.
- Dell Technologies, one of the metro's largest employers, already offered remote work options before the pandemic and continues to encourage flexibility.
Still companies are contending with a worsening labor shortage, which spans industries and predates the pandemic, leaving job seekers with the upper hand. The average lowest wage a worker without a college degree would be willing to accept for a new job is now $61,482, an all-time high, according to the New York Fed's latest labor market survey. For college graduates, the average lowest wage is $86,460.
If unemployed workers flood into the labor market in search of new jobs, it could turn the tide. Texas opted out of all federal unemployment assistance programs on June 26, months earlier than the expected cutoff in early September. Gov. Greg Abbott cited the current number of job openings and potentially fraudulent unemployment claims as reasons for the decision.
But other factors could prolong the Great Resignation, including COVID fears and care responsibilities. A recent study by the Austin-based jobs site Indeed found that only 10% of people between 18 and 64 were urgently searching for work. And job searches remain muted in around half of the states that opted out of federal unemployment benefits.
Moreno is optimistic about the Austin jobs market. "I have no regrets at all," she said of quitting. "I think I made the right decision completely."
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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