Home health accounted for nearly a third of the 64,000 jobs the healthcare sector added in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Home health agencies added 20,000 jobs last month, followed by physicians offices with 15,000 positions and offices of other health practices with 12,000 jobs.
But despite those gains, the healthcare industry is still down more than 300,000 jobs from just before the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s growing evidence that providers will have to pony up more money if they want to attract caregivers.
Pay more or lose staff
A survey last month from hiring software firm CareerPlug found that 91% of healthcare workers who responded to a compensation survey said they would demand higher wages in 2022 or find work in another field. That compared to 55% of workers in general who said they would seek higher wages or look elsewhere for jobs. Since the pandemic began, an estimated 20% of healthcare workers have quit their jobs in large part due to burnout.
Home care and hospice agencies have consistently cited staff losses as their single biggest challenge. During earnings calls with analysts last month, home care giants Amedisys and LHC Group both reported a shortage of healthcare workers constrained growth in the final quarter of last year. LHC Group estimated its labor costs could be 3% to 5% higher this year. In pre-pandemic years, the company estimated labor costs increased about half that amount annually.