(WWLP) – American workers leaving their jobs in record numbers and companies are now desperate to get new employees in the door.

Nearly 4.5 million people quit their jobs in February and the number of job openings in America is near twice the number of unemployed workers. That has employees in a stronger negotiating position than they have seen in decades.

Across the country, the labor crunch has empowered workers to move to better jobs, or demand better pay and conditions at their current workplaces.

Economists say, though, that this power climate will likely shift back by the end of the year as people return to the workforce and balance the scales.