Nonprofit hospitals feel squeeze of all-time-high job openings, Fitch says

Nonprofit hospitals are experiencing record-high job openings as workforce shortages persist, Fitch Ratings said in a Nov. 15 update based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Healthcare and social assistance job openings climbed to an all-time high of 9.2 percent as of September, but the number of quits was still high at 2.5 percent that month. The sector hires rate was 3.6 percent in September, compared to 3.7 percent in August.

"Hospital staff shortages are a predicament that could worsen come the winter months if COVID infection rates increase again," Richard Park, a director at Fitch, said in a news release.

Bureau data showed that hospital employees' average hourly earnings decreased to $39.59 in September from $39.85 in August, ending 17 months of consecutive increases, according to Fitch. But ambulatory healthcare services employees' average hourly earnings increased to $36.62 from $36.57 month over month.

At the same time, 18.5 percent of nursing homes are reporting shortages of nurses, according to Oct. 23 data. More than 19 percent of these facilities are reporting shortages of aides.

"Without appropriate staffing at nursing homes, hospitals will continue to face length of stay/discharge challenges resulting in a greater need for nurses at hospitals," Mr. Park said in the release.

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