Accountable Healthcare - Healthcare added 40K jobs in April with hospital, ambulatory gains
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May 16, 2023

Healthcare added 40K jobs in April with hospital, ambulatory gains

Dive Brief:

  • Healthcare added 40,000 jobs in April, led by gains of 24,000 posts in ambulatory services, 9,000 in nursing and residential care facilities and 7,000 in hospitals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report released on Friday.
  • The April job numbers decreased when compared to the average monthly gain of 47,000 jobs in the sector over the prior six months. In March, healthcare added 34,000 jobs, according to the BLS.
  • The job growth comes as hospitals attempt to increase hiring initiatives to temper costs of contract labor.

Dive Insight:

The U.S. added 253,000 jobs in April, above economists’ estimates, as the Federal Reserve continued raising interest rates this week.

Hospital job growth slowed compared to the 11,000 jobs added in March. Health systems have prioritized ramping up hiring initiatives to curb labor costs and contract labor expenses as inflation hampers hospital margins.

Hospitals have steadily gained jobs since the pandemic

Labor shortages have been a continued obstacle for hospitals this year after the coronavirus pandemic spurred job reductions and clinicians left the field due to burnout. Health systems used contract labor to stem employment gaps, with labor expenses rising as much as 36% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Hospital and nursing gains come as health systems such as for-profit hospital operator Community Health Systems report optimism on nurse recruitment initiatives during first-quarter earnings results, including announcing it anticipated hitting milestones in its partnership with the Jersey College School of Nursing. Tenet Healthcare also reported progress with contract labor costs and hiring during its first-quarter earnings results.

Home health jobs gains slowed as the sector added 2,300 jobs in April, down from a gain of 11,900 posts recorded in March. The slowdown comes as companies and hospitals continue a push into at-home care to decrease costs and expand healthcare access. In March, health system Atrium and Best Buy announced a partnership to co-design hospital-at-home programming.

Assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities gained 3,800 jobs last month as federal agencies like the CMS look to issue minimum staffing mandates. The White House announced last year that it would direct the CMS to create a set of nursing home reforms in wake of the pandemic.

Healthcare recorded broad job gains across the board excluding outpatient care centers and other ambulatory health services, which lost 1,500 and 300 jobs in April, respectively.