You may have heard the story that in the golden age of American labor, 20th-century workers stayed in one job for 40 years and retired with a gold watch. But that’s a total myth. The truth is people in the 1960s and ’70s quit their jobs more often than they have in the past 20 years, and the economy was better off for it. Since the 1980s, Americans have quit less, and many have clung to crappy jobs for fear that the safety net wouldn’t support them while they looked for a new one. But Americans seem to be done with sticking it out. And they’re being rewarded for their lack of patience: Wages for low-income workers are rising at their fastest rate since the Great Recession. The Great Resignation is, literally, great. [...] we may instead look back to the pandemic as a crucial inflection point in something more fundamental: Americans’ attitudes toward work.
This is not a shock to me at all. People don't stay at jobs that are bad unless the claw of the capitalist dragon is right on their necks. If there is some distance between their necks and that claw, people will try to find better work.
The erosion of safety net programs since the ideology neo-liberalism really took off in the 1980s has created more precarity and increased the pressure of the dragon's claw on the necks of the vast majority of people who work in the American economy.