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Mental health concerns precede quits: shifts in the work discourse during the Covid-19 pandemic and great resignation

To study the causes of the 2021 Great Resignation, we use text analysis and investigate the changes in work- and quit-related posts between 2018 and 2021 on Reddit. We find that the Reddit discourse evolution resembles the dynamics of the U.S. quit and layoff rates.

Furthermore, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, conversations related to working from home, switching jobs, work-related distress, and mental health increased, while discussions on commuting or moving for a job decreased. We  distinguish between general work-related and specific quit-related discourse  changes using a difference-in-differences method.

Our main finding is that mental health and work-related distress topics disproportionally increased among quit-related posts since the onset of the pandemic, likely contributing to the quits of the Great Resignation. Along with better labor market conditions, some relief came beginning-to-mid-2021 when these concerns decreased.

Our study underscores the importance of having access to data from online forums, such as Reddit, to study emerging economic phenomena in real time, providing a valuable supplement to traditional labor market surveys and administrative data.

R. M. Del Rio-Chanona, A. Hermida-Carrillo, M. Sepahpour-Fard, L. Sun, R. Topinkova, L. Nedelkoska, Mental health concerns precede quits: shifts in the work discourse during the Covid-19 pandemic and great resignation, EPJ Data Science 12 (2023).

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