Healthcare job growth hits 32-year high

Throughout 2023, healthcare saw a rate of employment growth that it hadn't seen in more than three decades. 

The finding is from an Altarum analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Jan. 31. 

Eight findings from the analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics data: 

1. Healthcare employment expanded by 3.9% in 2023, more than 2.5 times faster than all other industries, which grew by 1.5%. 

2. The last time healthcare experienced a rate of employment growth above 3.9% was in 1991, when the rate was 4.8%.

3. Overall, 1 in 4 jobs created in the economy last year were in healthcare. 

4. "The primary factors behind this growth were a combination of the longstanding increase in demand for healthcare services, a return to normal pre-pandemic demand for care, and hiring to replace the workers who left due to burnout during the 'Great Resignation' in 2021 and 2022," Altarum wrote in its analysis.

5. The Altarum analysis is notable in that it is an indicator of a trend away from the workforce numbers seen during the pandemic. 

6. The analysis showed that hospital employment has grown by 192,700 jobs, or 3.7%, since February 2020, while employment in ambulatory care settings has grown by 9.2%.

7. Still, nursing and residential care employment, although steadily increasing since January 2022, remains 4.6% below pre-pandemic levels, a trend Altarum said is likely due to nursing home closures, lower resident censuses and staffing shortages.

8. Although healthcare saw lower employment growth in December, the industry has started 2024 with stronger job growth. Healthcare added 70,300 jobs in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest jobs report, published Feb. 2. This is an increase from the 37,700 jobs added the month prior.

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