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DENVER (KDVR) — New numbers from the federal government show nearly 4.3 million people left their jobs in August. That’s up 242,000 from July.

“It’s the highest since December of 2000, which is a stunning number,” said Eric Olson with staffing firm Robert Half International.

Businesses hardest hit include restaurants, bars and retail.

Anna Cruz works at Garibaldi Mexican Bistro in Englewood. She works in multiple roles because her restaurant is short-staffed. They need a few more people.

“Right before the pandemic started, we had a full house,” Cruz said. “[New employees] stay maybe a week and then they leave.”

Olson, with the staffing firm, said employers need to get creative by offering additional benefits and workflows that allow a better work-life balance. Job candidates have never had quite the upper hand, he said.

“It’s a great time to be a candidate in Colorado,” Olson explained. “There are jobs everywhere. Worker confidence is up. There’s a lot of job openings. We all see the 10 million-plus jobs in the United States.”

Olson said industries that continue to grow include tech, medical, insurance and finance.

“A lot of our clients are telling us they’re having difficulty attracting people because there are so many options,” he said.

Economists said the labor market will keep inflation high as companies increase wages to attract more workers.