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Record number of South Carolinians quitting their jobs in search of flexibility

The latest numbers show a rapid increase in the number of new businesses starting across the state.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's yet another fallout from the pandemic: Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers, with many looking for more flexibility. The latest numbers show a rapid increase in the number of new businesses being established across the state.

Jim Johnson, Director of the Small Business Development Center at South Carolina State University says Americans are leaving their jobs to pursue their career goals.

"Just the way people think has changed over the pandemic," said Johnson. 

"They got used to this work life balance, where they could have the benefits of being home with their families … opened their eyes to a new way on how they can work."

RELATED: US unemployment claims fall to new pandemic low of 290,000

He says people are leaving the job market for good, often to become their own boss. "Over the pandemic they've saved money in some instances… they've used this cash to start some businesses."

Entrepreneur Nicole Collins, was one of them. She says pre pandemic, she was working for an insurance company, as a customer service advocate. She says when she began working remotely she missed social interaction and hated feeling as though she was always working.

"June 1st I left my job and started my own business Freedom Organizers. To help people gain freedom within their homes through organization," said Collins.

She took the risk, starting her own business as a personal organizer. "In your home, whether it be your closet, your refrigerators, your pantries, maybe a basement area, a garage or maybe even the whole house as a whole."

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She says she wanted a better work/life balance. "I started doing it because I wanted more flexibility, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to be on my own time and wanted to spend more time with my daughter."

According to Joseph Von Nessen a research economist at USC, the number of new businesses established since the second half of 2020 was 7,000 per quarter. That compares to 4,000 per quarter in the years leading up to the pandemic. The number of applications for business licenses has gone up 32% as well.

Von Nessen said, "It suggests that we're likely to see more business formations going forward at least there's a strong demand."

As for Nicole, what started as a hobby is now her job.