Monday, July 15, 2024

Health care openings still hot amid cooling job market – Marketplace

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The labor market continues to cool, but not equally across industries. In a big pool covering everything from windsurfing instructors to quantum engineers, health care has stood out as one of the market’s hottest areas.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently highlighted how changes in the labor market don’t necessarily apply across the board.

“In the end, the unemployment rate has moved up. You see a labor market that is now pretty much in balance, pretty much where it was in 2019,” Powell said. “It’s not a source of broad inflationary pressures for the economy now.”

Over the past year, 757,000 jobs have been created in the health care sector. Daniel Sbriglio at Ryders Health Management had a hand in around 400 of them.

“We own and operate eight different skilled nursing facilities across Connecticut as well as a home care agency,” Sbriglio said. “We have about 100 different nursing positions open across the system.”

There’s still more hiring to be done, according to Sbriglio. Despite continued postings on job boards, sponsored job posts and job fairs, “there’s still a very limited pool of people,” he added.

That’s still partly because of the pandemic, said Michael Abrams, managing partner of Numerof Associates Inc., a health care consulting firm. 

“What we’re seeing in a large degree is a replenishment of workers in the health care industry,” Abrams said.

So many people either took early retirement or got burned out and left during the pandemic that health care jobs only returned to pre-pandemic levels less than two years ago, Abrams said.

“Hospital administrators have been scrambling and have been short-staffed all this time,” Abrams said.

Demand, meanwhile, is building. The population is aging, and there’s even pandemic demand left over, said Thom Bales, PwC’s U.S. health services leader. 

“We still see the residual tail of COVID pent-up demand, so things that were postponed. These are outpatient settings, home health settings, health care becoming more convenient for patients,” Bales said.

Think knee replacements, for instance. Hospitals alone added 242,000 jobs in the last year, but even more, 374,000, were added in what’s known as ambulatory care. 

Ironically, the health care delivery sector still has financial problems, said Abrams.  

“They’re running on very thin margins,” Abrams said. “They were not doing that well before the pandemic.”

Despite that, the jobs are still coming, for now. 

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