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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There are hundreds of open healthcare jobs for every applicant — and the shortfall is only growing.

Why it matters: America is aging, and millions of recovering COVID patients will need long-term care, dramatically increasing the demand for physicians, nurses, and home health aides. But there aren't enough workers with the skills to fill these jobs.

  • "There was already this massive shortage, then along comes the pandemic," says Michael Dill, director of workforce studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

By the numbers: The U.S. will see a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, per the AAMC.

  • According to new data from the jobs platform CareerBuilder, provided exclusively to Axios, postings for registered nurses have outnumbered applicants 53 to one over the last three months.
  • During that same time period, postings for home health and personal care aides have outnumbered applicants 43 to one. And there are 363 nurse practitioner job postings for every applicant.
    • That's up from 34 to one for home health aides and 273 to one for nurse practitioners two years ago — illustrating the dual effect of the pandemic. Not only is there an increase in demand for professionals to care for COVID-19 patients, but the stresses and dangers of working through the pandemic are temporarily pushing people away from healthcare jobs.
    • Says Dill, "I don’t think we grasp the long-term implications of the trauma that the healthcare workforce has gone through."

What's next: Medical and nursing school applications have spiked during the pandemic. That could start to close the gap between supply and demand in the healthcare workforce — but it'll take years for those students to enter the labor force.

  • It's also critical to establish short-term training programs for lower-skilled healthcare jobs, such as those of personal care aides, says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder.
  • The shortage could be filled in part by unemployed servers and hosts and bartenders who've lost their jobs during the pandemic and are looking to pivot careers, she says.

The bottom line: Even with unemployment still up significantly from before the pandemic, there remains a major mismatch between the jobs we need and the skills workers have — and no category may be more pressing than health.

Go deeper: Women's health care jobs aren't coming back as fast as men's

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Aug 19, 2021 - Health

Biden takes a harder line in COVID response

Biden announces new COVID measures Wednesday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden signaled Wednesday he's leaning into a heavier-handed approach to the COVID response.

Driving the news: In addition to announcing plans for boosters for the general population, Biden unveiled plans to require staff vaccinations at nursing homes. He also stepped up his fight with GOP governors who are banning school mask mandates.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Aug 18, 2021 - Health

U.S. disparities emerge in health spending figures

Expand chart
Data: Dieleman, et al., 2021, “US Health Care Spending by Race and Ethnicity, 2002-2016”; Chart: Axios Visuals

The amount of per-person health care spending is highest among white individuals compared to patients of other races, even after adjusting for age and health conditions, according to a study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

Why it matters: The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, provides evidence of inequities by race and ethnicity "from how physicians respond to patients to bias that exists in the algorithms that assess health needs and determine the appropriate intervention," the researchers write.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.