I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, so I’ll lead with the good news from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest workforce report: Voluntary turnover, particularly among high-performing employees, is down sharply.

The percentage of employees resigning or retiring has dropped 21% since 2008 to 7.3%, according to PwC’s calculations. For high performers, voluntary turnover rates also are down by more than a third — from 5.7% in 2006 to 3.7% in 2009. 

But, now the bad news: You may have to put air quotes around “high performers,” since PwC also finds that workforce productivity (measured by revenue per full-time employee) has decreased for the first time since 2005.   

Additionally, organizations are investing 17% more in workforce compensation and benefit costs to generate each dollar, PwC concludes. 

In 2008, organizations invested $221 for every $1,000 in revenue.  In 2009, organizations invested $259 for every $1,000 in revenue. When viewed in conjunction with a decline in revenue per FTE, the downward trends suggest that productivity and profitability may have reached a peak.

Not the best news for a Monday, for sure. But just to play devil’s advocate: the turnover stats conflict with government data released this summer, that show more people had quit their jobs than were laid off or fired. And it would seem that since companies nationwide are doing more with less, employees would be more productive, not less.

What do you think of PwC’s results? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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