Healthcare Employment Increase Slows in January, but Job Openings on the Rise

Healthcare Workforce Data

Employment in healthcare rose by 18,000 in January, an increase that’s down significantly from December, when the healthcare employment gain was 41,000. But that does not necessarily signal a change in the red-hot jobs market of the healthcare industry: Job openings are at an all-time high.

A one-month drop in healthcare employment in January can be quickly erased in succeeding months; that’s happened in recent years. Other healthcare data points to continuing strong demand for healthcare workers.

The healthcare employment numbers come from a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey called Current Employment Statistics, a count of all jobs filled on a monthly basis. But another BLS survey, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, provides a better view of actual demand. This survey, among other things, measures the number of job openings in industrial sectors on the last business day of each month. This is a cumulative data point; it shows how many total job openings exist on that date.

On the last business day of December 2016, there were 1.1 million job openings in the healthcare industry, the largest number since this survey began in 2006. So, while the rise in healthcare employment may have slowed in January, the total number of healthcare jobs openings entering the month of January was likely higher than ever.

The rise in job openings signals that the gap of unfilled healthcare jobs continues to grow.

Healthcare Workforce jobs February 2017