By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — It used to be people hung on to their jobs as long as possible, spending decades with the same company. Today, more workers are leaving jobs rapidly. Believe it or not, it’s a sign the economy is getting better.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams takes a look at what’s called the growing “quit rate.”

For 17 years, Deepak Uppal had an important job with a titan of American business.

Uppal said, “It was a great place to be.”

Yet a few months ago he felt the time was right to seek a new opportunity.

“We all want to progress in our careers and go on the next challenge, learn some new things. Make more money for sure,” said Uppal.

And so Uppal left a Fortune 500 company to join another firm as vice president of sales. It’s a move he would not have made in the middle of the recession.

“If you’re one of the newer folks joining an organization, you’re low on the totem pole and if they make cuts, you know, you’re probably one of the first ones to go,” Uppal said.

Back then businesses were making massive job cuts. Today, the cuts have slowed, unemployment is down and many companies are hiring again.

It’s leading to what outplacement chief John Challenger calls the growing “quit rate.”

Challenger said “It means that people are more confident that they can pick up and leave, and they’re not going into a job market that’s just impossible and way too risky.”

Challenger says older workers are now more comfortable doing what the 20-something millenials have understood all along: it’s ok to quit a job.

Christine Khasho, who’s had full-time jobs with companies, now prefers freelance work as a makeup artist and stylist.

“So I think it’s scary and it does make you a little anxious but I think anybody should really try to do what they want to do,” said Khasho.

Is this the right time for you to quit your job? It could be if you’re trying to develop new skills in today’s rapidly changing economy.

Chris Jenkins, chief recruiter for the fast-growing Chicago company kCura, says many of his recent hires switched jobs to keep up with the latest technology.

“They want to move on to the next organization that can really be on the cutting edge so their skills stay sharp,” said Jenkins.

For Deepak Uppal, his job decision turned out to be right one.

Uppal said, “Excellent, excellent. Very excited to be where I am right now.”

Excitement shared by many other American workers today.

Though Chicago’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average, experts the city’s businesses are hiring more workers now, especially in the areas of professional and business services, healthcare and financial services.

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