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The Great Resignation, where did the employees go?

UA economist weighs in on Southern Arizona's job recovery
Tucson Photographer Carlos Chavez
Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 19:00:08-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The great resignation, many businesses have been coping with the aftermath of the pandemic, struggling to get back employees they lost during the pandemic. So where did they all go?

"I basically worked two full time jobs, so I did my corporate job and then I did my photography before and after work and so I was always working," Carlos Chavez said. "Now it's still always working, but it's a little bit different because I can make that schedule myself."

Carlos Chavez, now a full time photographer in Tucson, decided during the pandemic it was time to step away from his corporate job and become his own boss.

"So honestly, I have been feeling tired for quite a while working in the non-profit sector, we're dealing with youth and families that are under-served in our community," Chavez said. "It's stressful in itself and doing it for 10 plus years. It kind of just wears on you."

He's not alone, many people who have changed jobs have referred to this time period as the great resignation.

KGUN9 on your side spoke with George Hammond, an economist at the University of Arizona, who weighed in on the matter.

"You know the pandemics really impact people in a wide variety of ways and it looks like a lot of people have, you know, taking the opportunity of the pandemic to to really rethink their their career options," Hammond said.

Hammond says Tucson is a bit behind when it comes to recovering jobs lost during the pandemic. He believes it's not necessarily a great resignation, but a reallocation.

"Through February of this year, Tucson has recovered about 87% of the jobs we lost during the first two months of the pandemic, where as Arizona has more than recovered those jobs loss and the nation has recovered about 90% of those initial job losses," Hammond said.

For Chavez, the change has brought him more time with his family.

"Being in a corporate job, there's a lot of benefits to it," Chavez said. "For me having that flexibility of being my own boss making my own schedule, not having a limit on how much income like makes my family was huge for me and then during the pandemic was just the time for me to jump in full time."

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Denelle Confair is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Denelle is proud to call Southern Arizona home. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good.
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