Health care had 2 million job openings in February; number edging up

Total hires, separations ‘little changed’ from month before.

More than 2.02 million jobs in health care and social assistance were unfilled across the United States in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s February 2022 “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.”

The number of health care job openings was second only to the professional and business services sector, which posted 2.08 million open positions. As a percentage, the health care job opening rate of 9% was third in job opening rates across industries, behind accommodation and food services (10.2%) and general leisure and hospitality (9.9%).

In health care and social assistance, the number of jobs and the percentage rate both were higher than February 2021, when there were 1.5 million job openings for a 7% opening rate. The unfilled jobs number and percentages have been edging up in the preceding four months.

There were 774,000 hires for health care and social assistance jobs in February 2022.

That month, the sector had 699,000 separations, or voluntary separations initiated by employees; and 102,000 layoffs and discharges, or involuntary separations initiated by the employer.

Overall, the U.S. Department of Labor’s report described the February job figures as little changed from the month before.

There were an estimated 11.26 million job openings on Feb. 28, 2022, down from 11.28 million for January 2022 and more than 7.86 million unfilled positions for February 2021.

Total hires were 6.68 million, up from 6.42 million the month before and up from 6.02 million for February last year. Total separations were 6.09 million, up from 6.04 million the month before and up from 5.4 million in February 2021.

“Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle,” said a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor. “Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising.”