As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, various states struggled with hiring new employees, causing the healthcare unemployment rates to rise. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry continues to provide more jobs.

Looking at the Numbers

Organizations are struggling with service delays or shortened hours while labor force participation rates, particularly in the healthcare industry, are at record lows. Americans are abandoning their jobs at greater than usual rates, and there is a high demand for talent. South Carolina is among the states that are performing worse than average.

Alaska, Georgia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Virginia, and South Carolina are facing the biggest challenges with hiring and retaining employees. Each of these states has an unemployment rate between 7.1-7.9%. These high levels of unemployment have a negative impact on all industries, but the medical field will struggle the most as a result of these high unemployment rates.

However, states like New York, the District of Columbia, Washington, and California, have the lowest unemployment rates when compared with the rest of the United States. These states have an unemployment rate between 5.1-4.2%. While all states may struggle with a lack of jobs and issues hiring new employees, some states are struggling less than others.

Unemployment Rates in Healthcare

It may not seem that way when looking at states’ unemployment rates, but people are constantly looking for jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2023, the overall unemployment rate in the medical field is 2.4%. In past months, this number has fluctuated but has stayed below 3%, which is a good thing. While the pandemic may have caused a rise in the unemployment rate in the last few years, it appears that more healthcare personnel are getting jobs, but there is still a gap in hiring.

Health employment fell by 8.2% between April 2019 and April 2020, while non-health employment fell by 14%. Over time, employment in all industries gradually recovered. However, healthcare positions recovered faster. The healthcare sector had already reported 95% of the jobs it had before the pandemic as of July 2020. Nonetheless, it still took until June 2021 for non-healthcare employment to recover to 95% of pre-pandemic levels.

What Does This Mean for Healthcare?

Although the unemployment rate in the healthcare industry has recovered after the pandemic, states with high unemployment rates may have a negative impact on the overall staffing of hospitals in those specific states. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide information on state-specific unemployment rates in healthcare. However, it is safe to assume that states like South Carolina or Alaska may struggle more in hiring healthcare staff than New York and other states with lower rates of unemployment.

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Advisory Board. (2023, January). The Healthcare Job Market, in 7 charts. Retrieved from: https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2023/01/25/healthcare-employment#:~:text=Although%20average%20healthcare%20wages%20initially,going%20from%20%24982%20to%20%241%2C126.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023). Industries at a glance: Health care and Social Assistance: NAICS 62. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag62.htm.

Charleston Daily (2023, April 22). South Carolina ranked #5 in U.S. states struggling with hiring. Retrieved from: https://charlestondaily.net/south-carolina-ranked-5-in-u-s-states-struggling-with-hiring/.