The Challenge in Tracking Unemployment Among Health Care Workers and Why It Matters

Authors: Bianca Frogner, PhD | Susan Skillman, MS

Topics: COVID-19, Long-Term Care, Staffing, Workforce Demand, Workforce Supply

Research Center: University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies

November 9, 2020

The health care industry lost 1.5 million jobs between March and April 2020, the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Losses spread across the major health care sectors of hospitals (22.7%), ambulatory care settings (39.6%), and long-term care (LTC) facilities (37.7%). The job loss in LTC facilities (eg, skilled nursing facilities, residential care, assisted living) represents 6.2% of their workforce compared with 2.8% in ambulatory care and 2.4% in hospitals. The LTC sector has seen a steady decline in employment since the start of the pandemic, while the other health care sectors have mostly rebounded. The job loss in LTC is concerning but not surprising, given reports of high COVID-19 risk and burnout.

This article discusses how tracking unemployment among health care workers is necessary to develop a strategy to strengthen the LTC workforce and improve health care delivery.

Read Full Brief
University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies