Healthcare employment plummeted in September

Healthcare hiring nosedived in September as it declined for the third time this year, according to the latest federal jobs report.

Employment in the healthcare sector fell by an estimated 17,500 jobs last month, preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show. The decline is the second-biggest this year, overshadowed only by January, when hiring contracted by 80,500 jobs.

Employment in community care facilities for older adults took the hardest hit, losing an estimated 19,500 jobs after shedding 2,700 jobs in August. Hospital hiring took a downturn, recording an estimated 8,100 fewer jobs. In August, hospitals added 3,700 jobs.

The healthcare employment losses come as the industry, besieged by the COVID-19 pandemic, struggles to find workers. Early retirements, burnout and vaccine mandates have caused some workers to leave the profession, leaving providers to compete for a dwindling pool of candidates.

The nursing home sector’s downward spiral continued as it lost another 37,600 jobs.

Overall employment in the U.S. grew by 194,000 jobs but the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 4.8%. That’s a more modest increase than in August, when the economy added 366,000 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality industry recorded the biggest gains, adding an estimated 74,000 jobs. Professional and business services added 60,000 jobs.


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