Long-term care providers struggle with high unemployment

Although employment at hospitals and physicians offices has returned to almost pre-pandemic levels, assisted living communities, life plan / continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes continue to see relatively high unemployment, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Relatively recession-proof” in past recessions, healthcare employment fell dramatically in early 2020, according to the report. The COVID-19 recession saw health sector jobs fall sharply, although not as steeply as jobs in other sectors — healthcare employment fell by 9.3% in April 2020 from the previous month, whereas non-healthcare employment fell by more than 14%.

“While health employment in many facilities has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, the effects of the pandemic linger,” the authors wrote.

According to the data, however, community care facilities — including assisted living communities and CCRCs — as well as nursing homes, show continued decreases in employment, whereas other health sectors had nearly recovered to pre-pandemic employment levels by summer 2020. 

By November 2021, outpatient care centers and physician’s offices employed more people than in February 2020, and hospitals and home healthcare organizations were within 2% of their pre-pandemic employment numbers.  

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