DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a near-record number of people leaving their jobs, and more are thinking about calling it quits.

With restrictions eased, people are rushing to return to their favorite places, but the office is not one of them; however, experts say since December they’re seeing a record number of startups, more than they’ve seen since 2004.

“In the past, it’s sort of been employers telling employees– this is how it is; take it or leave it,” says Rebecca Ryan, a top 50 futurist and economist..

Since things have started to return to normal, the balance of power has shifted.

“In December of last year, in the midst of the pandemic, no one was quitting their job. Everyone was kind of holding on for dear life and hoping that they wouldn’t be laid off,” states Ryan.

Experts say quitting indicates confidence, and one of the reasons people are confident is because the savings rate increased.

“There are so many job openings. It really is like a buyers’ market for employees right now,” says Ryan.

Ryan refers to it as the ‘Great Re-Shuffle.’

“Just calling this the ‘Great Resignation’– I mean, it definitely gets at people quitting, but it doesn’t get at like the structural reordering. It’s like a Rubik’s cube. It’s like it’s just all getting turned around,” describes Ryan. “Resignation just gets at quitting. It doesn’t get at what’s new and what’s emerging, and that is much of the story.”

Four million people left their jobs in April.

During the pandemic, some people were laid off, took advantage of the added unemployment benefits, and never went back to work.

“There really is a financial incentive to staying back if all you’re making is minimum wage,” admits Ryan.

To draw people back in, some companies are now offering incentives and signing bonuses.

Other people left their jobs to retire early. For people saving for retirement, the stock market was good last year.

Other people quit their jobs to start new businesses and work for themselves.

“This sort of freedom and oxygen in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is usually really great for the economy, and history shows that when you come through a disruption like this or through an economic recession or depression, it’s usually a great time to start a business because like there’s nowhere to go than up. And this is the kind of economic freedom our country is founded on,” says Ryan.

Experts say during the pandemic, a lot of people used that time to up-skill and re-skill to become eligible for better paying jobs that would provide more financial security.

Experts say there is a 52% increase in the number of open HR jobs right now. That indicates companies need help finding talent and figuring out what the future work place is going to look like.

“As we wake up from this period of COVID, we’re sort of shaking our heads and looking at our lives more clear-eyed saying is this really what I want to be doing?” says Ryan.