The Impact of the Pandemic on Healthcare Employment

June 18, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, For Employers, For the Workforce, Return to the Workforce

Last modified June 19, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent public health response have led to extraordinary job loss in the United States. From February through May 2020, overall employment decreased 13% as roughly 20 million people lost work.

While the health sector has typically been safe from job loss during periods of economic recession, the current economic downturn is unique in that it is driven by a pandemic. Out of concern that hospitals would be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and that staffing and supplies would be limited, non-emergency, elective, or routine medical services were delayed or cancelled. Additionally, out of concern of contracting the virus, some people went without medical care they might otherwise have received. As a result, healthcare revenue fell sharply March and April, and more than 1.5 million healthcare jobs were lost from February through April 2020. Health services recovered more than 300,000 jobs in May, mainly in dental offices, but employment in certain healthcare settings continued to decrease.

This article explains how the long-term impacts on health spending and employment are uncertain, as it remains to be seen when and where healthcare utilization will pick up.

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