Nearly 1 in 10 Health Care Workers Lost Their Job Between February and April, But Health Care Employment Rebounded Slightly in May

A new chart collection explores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. health care workforce, and finds that between February and April 2020, nearly 1.5 million health care jobs were lost. While more than 300,000 health services jobs were recovered in May 2020, mainly in dental offices, employment in some health care settings continued to decrease.

The rise in health care unemployment follows a sharp decline in utilization and revenue for non-emergency services. Many providers delayed or canceled appointments for routine care and elective procedures amid concerns that COVID-19 patients would overwhelm the health system; others closed their facilities entirely. Many patients also chose to forgo non-emergency care, presumably due to stay-at-home orders issued by local governments and fear of contracting the virus in health care settings.

Workers in ambulatory health care settings, like dental and physician’s offices, have been particularly hard-hit, accounting for more than half of total health care job losses between February and May 2020.

The chart collection also includes data on gender disparities and geographic variation in health care job loss, as well as a breakdown of job loss by sector.

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

For more data, analysis, polling and journalism on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our special resource page on kff.org.