43,000 healthcare jobs lost in March

Healthcare lost 43,000 jobs in March, with job losses primarily in ambulatory healthcare services, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The job losses — which occurred the same month the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic — included offices of physicians (-12,000), dentists (-17,000) and other healthcare practitioners (-7,000). At the same time, hospitals added only 200 jobs last month, compared to the 7,800 positions they added to the U.S. economy in February.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued a statement on the March jobs report, pointing out that it reflects the initial effect on U.S. jobs of the public health measures being taken to fight against COVID-19.

"It should be noted the report's surveys only reference the week and pay periods that include March 12; we know that our report next month will show more extensive job losses, based on the high number of state unemployment claims reported yesterday and the week before," said Mr. Scalia.

Overall, healthcare employment had been growing. In the 12 months prior to March, industry employment had grown by 374,000, according to the bureau. 

This story was updated at 9:50 a.m. CDT April 3.


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