Newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals a state-by-state picture of how the coronavirus epidemic has roiled the health care job market.
About the new employment data
On Friday, BLS released more detailed, preliminary estimates of state-by-state employment changes in health care and related sectors in May.
How the coronavirus has impacted health care and social assistance jobs
For all 50 states, BLS estimated the number of jobs in a broad category known as "health care and social assistance." More than 80% of jobs in this category nationwide are in the health care industry.
For most states, BLS also estimated employment in up to three subsectors of health care: "ambulatory health care services," "hospitals," and "nursing and residential care facilities." The maps below include these more detailed estimates where available.
The data for May, which has not been seasonally adjusted, reveals employment gains in the "health care and social assistance" sector for every state except New Mexico. In most states, ambulatory health care employment jumped as states' nonessential business closures and stay-at-home orders eased and patients resumed seeking non-urgent care. Employment continued to decline, however, in hospitals and nursing facilities.
Despite May's gains, all 50 states had fewer jobs in the "health care and social assistance" sector than in February, before coronavirus-related job losses began in earnest:
What's next for health care jobs?
When the nationwide May unemployment data was released, Ash Shehata, KPMG's national sector leader for health care and life sciences, said it demonstrated the health care industry's resilience compared to other industries. "I was a bit surprised by that much growth given the extent of the full shutdown that we saw in the segment," Shehata said.
But the health care industry still faces the challenge of convincing patients that it is safe to receive care at providers' facilities. "Health systems have to step up and make a strong point to consumers that they are leading the way, preparing for this, and doing everything possible to keep their population safe and healthy through this pandemic. That could be the biggest indicator of whether we're a V, U, or W-shaped recovery in health care," Shehata said (Bannow, Modern Healthcare, 6/5).