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Healthcare still adding jobs, but at a lower rate than in June, BLS data shows

Overall employment in the industry is still down significantly in 2020, driven by cancelled elective surgeries and wary patients.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

The healthcare industry continued to add jobs in July, but at a rate far lower than that of June, suggesting that hiring in the sector is starting to slow as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare added 126,000 jobs in July -- a large dip from the 358,000 jobs that were added in the previous month. And overall employment in the industry is down significantly so far in 2020, driven largely by cancelled elective surgeries and patient trepidation, which have led to tanking patient volumes.

In total, healthcare employment is down 797,000 since February.

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WHAT'S THE IMPACT

The healthcare sub-sector that fared the worst in July was the nursing home industry, which showed employment losses of 28,000 during the month -- a jump from the 20,000 jobs lost in June, but fewer than the 52,000 jobs nursing homes lost in May.

Other areas of the healthcare industry fared far better. Dentists had perhaps the best month, adding 45,000 jobs in July, although that number is still down significantly from the 190,000 jobs that were added in June. 

Physician offices also added jobs -- about 26,000 in all -- but again, this represented a decline from June, when physician offices added 80,000 jobs. Home healthcare services added 45,000 jobs during the month.

Hospitals represented the only sub-sector within healthcare that added more jobs in July than it did in June: 27,000, as compared to 6,000 the month prior. This represents a significant rebound from May, when hospitals lost 26,000 jobs.

Across the entire economy, non-farm payroll employment rose by 1.8 million, driving the unemployment rate down to 10.2%. That's still fewer than the 2.7 million and 4.8 million jobs added in May and June, respectively. 

THE LARGER TREND

Despite the turnaround in jobs the last couple of months, hospitals are still facing financial hardships related to COVID-19. Trinity Health, for example, said it anticipated $2 billion in losses and further layoffs as COVID-19 continues.

The BLS attributed the increase of jobs in the healthcare industry to the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the pandemic.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com