What are the Recent Trends in Health Sector Employment

This updated chart collection takes a deep dive into employment data to analyze how jobs and wages in the health sector have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike past recessions, health sector employment saw a big drop in early 2020 but has rebounded since. As of February 2024, the health sector added 66,700 jobs over the previous month. Jobs in the health sector are 5.7% higher than in February 2020 (the previous peak), compared to 3.4% in all other sectors.

Still, not all health sector employment trends have recovered. While hospitals and physicians’ offices have returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, industries such as elderly care and skilled nursing care facilities continue to see relatively low employment. Employment in elderly care facilities reached a low of 869,500 in January of 2022 and has been growing slightly since. These facilities had 974,600 employees nationwide in February 2020, and 965,100 in February of 2024—a 1% decrease. Skilled nursing care facilities have seen an 8.3% drop in employment since February of 2020.

The chart collection is available on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system

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