RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's becoming more and more obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way our economy works and there are more changes underway.
Some economists are calling one of those changes "The Great Resignation."
In the first half of this year, people have left their jobs in droves.
"I was forced to make a decision to resign. I was forced to do that. My health was at risk. My family was at risk, my children's education," Angel Perkins said.
The Zebulon mother of three is now running her own internet business called Boujee Bling, selling jewelry and accessories.
She has even started a second online business, Boujee Prints, selling printed apparel.
For nine years, Perkins was a staffing recruiter.
During the pandemic, her boss couldn't offer remote work.
Perkins said that meant she had to send her youngest child to school for in-person learning.
His kindergarten class had a coronavirus outbreak and soon her entire family had COVID-19.
"I was already, you know, trying to keep the wheels on the bus, and then it got to a point where everything just kind of fell apart," she said.
Finally this spring, Perkins decided to join the so-called Great Resignation.
She quit her job, started selling online, quickly replaced her old income, and realized the dream her husband had already achieved of owning her own business.
Perkins is not alone.
A survey by job search website Monster.com showed that 95% of those who responded are considering changing jobs.
Statistics from the US Labor Department show a record 4 million workers quit their jobs in April.
"This was a surprise to me," said economist Michael Walden, a North Carolina State University professor emeritus. "It's really come much earlier than many economists thought."
Walden said it's likely The Great Resignation is a pent-up trend since resignations were actually down in 2020 as many held onto their jobs during the pandemic until the vaccines started paving the way to recovery.
Walden said he thinks that during that time, a lot of workers may have enrolled in learning programs to improve their skills.
"They took that time to reassess and maybe change their skills and maybe say, 'You know, I didn't want to stay as a waiter/waitress all my life. It was an entry level job. Let me go to the next stage,'" Walden said.
Walden is betting that next stage for many are tech jobs, and he said he thinks the Triangle is well-situated to take advantage of the trend.
When Perkins realized she was part of a national trend, she said she felt validated.
"I was so happy and relieved to know that, you know, that I wasn't crazy, and I wasn't the only one feeling the way that I did because of everything that was going on," she said.
If she wasn't already convinced that she did the right thing by joining The Great Resignation, she got a sign last week when she did something she has only been able to do since she became her own boss.
She walked her son to his school bus.
She watched him rush to an empty seat then put his hands together in the window to form the shape of a heart as the bus drove away.
He was letting his mom know how much he appreciated the new routine.
Perkins' eyes lit up.
"I knew at that moment that I had made the right decision," she said. "I knew that I did."