Feb 2, 2024 - Health

Health care jobs grew at fastest rate in over 30 years

Annual change in U.S. health care employment
Data: Altarum analysis of monthly BLS Current Employment Statistics data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care employment grew at its fastest clip since 1991 last year as the industry's pandemic recovery continued and demand for care picked up.

Why it matters: Health care is playing a big role in fueling a strong labor market, even as the industry grapples with high levels of burnout.

By the numbers: Health care jobs expanded by 3.9% in 2023, much higher than the 1.5% growth rate across all other industries, according to new Altarum data.

  • Health care added 654,000 jobs last year, representing almost a quarter of all new jobs in the U.S.
  • Though hiring in the sector cooled down in December, it picked up again last month, according to Labor Department figures released Friday.
  • Jobs in outpatient care are up 9.6% since the start of the pandemic, while hospital employment is up 3.7%.
  • Staffing at nursing and residential facilities, which were hit hard during COVID-19, is still down 4.6% from pre-pandemic levels despite steady increases in the past two years.

Of note: Altarum points out that some of the growth is from hiring to replace workers who left the field over burnout in recent years.

  • Health insurers have also reported more people are seeking out care than expected, which they said is an indication that patients are getting elective procedures they put off during the pandemic.
  • While that means greater demand for health care jobs, it also means higher insurance costs that could be passed along to customers.
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