CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)- Businesses are having a hard enough time filling existing open positions, but now Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers.

This past August three percent of the nation’s work force quit.

The Labor Department said it’s the highest on record dating back to December 2000. This jump in people quitting strongly suggests that fear of the delta variant is partly responsible for the shortfall in workers.

Covid cases have recently been on the decline nationally, but some health care professionals worry about another rise during the colder months.

State Senator Adam Hinds says “It feels like we are not even getting our fundamentals right. The obstacles for work, childcare that is unaffordable and inaccessible or transportation that is not giving folks what we need.”

Between Smith and Wesson announcing its relocation to Tennessee and the pandemic, lawmakers say the job creation issues highlight weaknesses in our system.

State Senator Adam Gomez stated “Here in western Massachusetts with the news of losing a fortune 500 company like Smith & Wesson it has taken a lot of the air out of the room. In western Massachusetts we want to encourage other companies to come here and make sure they are paying livable wages.”

The nationwide unemployment rate is close to the state’s overall rate at nearly five percent.