Healthcare jobs recover in July

Overall employment in three outpatient health sectors is now higher than it was before the pandemic: dental offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient care centers. While job growth in July was weak or negative across all three categories, their overall employment was higher than in January 2020, just before the US pandemic. Dental offices added 27,000 jobs, labs 4,300, and outpatient centers 8,500.

The outpatient health care sector employs the most people and typically accounts for at least three quarters of the industry’s jobs. Outpatient care providers added about 32,000 jobs last month, more than three times the June growth. The total employment in the outpatient sector is 7.8 million, which is about 13,000 less than in January 2020.

Most of the increase in outpatients was in the category called “offices of other medical practitioners,” which has increased by an estimated 17,100 jobs and is now approaching its pre-pandemic level. Doctors’ offices are also very close to pre-pandemic employment after 10,100 jobs were added last month.

Hospitals have seen a sharp jump in recruitment, adding an estimated 18,300 jobs, significantly less than in June, when they cut more than 7,000 people. Hospitals across the country, especially in states with low vaccination rates, have struggled to cope with the latest surge in COVID-19 after a relatively calm spring.

In July, employment in nursing homes fell by 1,500 jobs, less than in other months during the pandemic. Nursing home employment has declined every month since the outbreak began, and up to 94% of nursing homes were understaffed in the past month, according to a June survey.

In family-based psychiatric institutions and public care for the elderly, employment declined markedly in July.

Across all sectors, total employment rose by 943,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%. Leisure and hospitality were by far the biggest gains, adding a whopping 380,000 jobs. Local government education added 221,000 jobs.

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