Hospitals shed more jobs in March—their third straight month of losses—as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the healthcare industry.
New federal jobs data show that even as other industries saw strong employment rebounds last month, healthcare hiring was mostly flat. Healthcare employment inched up less than 0.1% from February, recording just 11,500 new hires. Hospital's losses were compounded by a decline in residential care employment and weak hiring in the ambulatory sector, which typically carries the industry.
The underwhelming healthcare news comes as total employment across all industries increased by 916,000 in March and the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found. Almost 20% of the jobs gained were in food services and drinking places. Public and private education also saw strong growth, as did construction and professional and business services.
Total U.S. employment is still down by 8.4 million jobs, or 5.5%, from its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.