Healthcare jobs still down from end of 2020

April 20, 2021
Keith A. Reynolds

Small employment increases in March and February couldn’t replenish the more than 80,000 jobs lost in January.

The U.S. healthcare industry is still down tens of thousands of jobs from the end of 2020.

According to a new study from Altarum, found that the 11,500 jobs added in March and the 25,000 added in February still left a 44,000 deficit in jobs after a loss of more than 80,000 jobs in January. Compared to the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, healthcare employment is down 557,000 jobs, or 3.1 percent.

Ambulatory settings are seeing a better trend so far by adding 15,300 jobs in March and a net 31,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2021. Physician offices saw a modest increase of 2,900 jobs over the past month, and have seen a 1.8 percent drop in employment, or about 54,200 jobs, since the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, according to the study.

Hospitals saw a small drop in employment in March, with 600 jobs lost, and in February, with 1,900 lost jobs, with a total loss of 37,000 jobs at the end of the first quarter of 2021 from the end of 2020. Overall, hospital employment is down about 100,000 jobs, or 1.8 percent, from February 2020, the study says.

The 44,000 jobs lost in healthcare in the first quarter of 2021 only constitutes a loss of one-third of 1 percent of the 15.9 million healthcare jobs.

“In the U.S., 44,000 is roughly the total number of real estate brokers or professional actors or security screeners employed in all airports,” the survey says. “And it is more than the total number of professional photographers or urban planners – or, certainly, economists.”