The pandemic brought about a rare reduction in health care jobs at a time when they are most needed, for both patient care and for the effort to vaccinate millions of Americans against COVID-19. Hospitals reduced headcount by 126,200 jobs last April, which was the largest reduction since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the figure in 1989. The total health care sector shed more than 1.5 million jobs in March and April of last year.
While some of these jobs have returned, the sector is still below pre-pandemic levels of employment. Hospitals remain 65,000 employees below their March peak, despite adding 31,000 jobs in December.
The health care sector remains 500,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak.
The health care sector remains 500,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak. Many individuals have left the labor market to tend to families, care for children or because of concern for their own safety.
Clinical labor shortages, particularly among non-physicians, have plagued the health care system for years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the demand for nursing jobs will grow 7% per year through at least 2029 as the need for health care increases and current nurses retire. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing most recently reported a modest 5% increase in nursing school enrollment.
As the country seeks to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people, we will need creative solutions and every available clinician.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.