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Mental health concerns prelude the Great Resignation: Evidence from Social Media

To study the causes of the 2021 Great Resignation, we use text analysis to 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. 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 Great Resignation. Along with better labor market conditions, some relief came beginning-to-mid-2021 when these concerns decreased.

Our study validates the use of forums such as Reddit for studying emerging economic phenomena in real time, complementing traditional labor market surveys and administrative data.

M. Del Rio Chanona, A. Hermida-Carrilo, M. Sepahpour-Fard, L. Sun, R. Topinkova, L. Nedelkoska, Mental health concerns prelude the Great Resignation: Evidence from Social Media, arXiv (2023) 2208.07926.

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