February 27, 2024


Tech and media layoffs have made big splashes across news headlines. But another industry’s workforce has faced troubles, too: healthcare.

Job cuts in US healthcare last year totaled nearly 60,000, up more than 90% from 2022. The sector fell only behind tech and retail when ranked by the number of layoffs in 2023. And those cuts were spread across American employers. Nearly one-third of US healthcare workers surveyed in a recent industry report from software company Tebra said they witnessed layoffs in their workplace last year.

The slashes have continued into 2024, with cuts hitting workers at Amazon’s health division, Pfizer, and a slew of biotech companies, among others.

Nurses and doctors, your jobs are safe(r)

Layoffs have mostly hit managerial and administrative staffers rather than patient-facing roles.

Hence comes the tension: just as cuts have surged, so too has hiring. In January, healthcare made up 20% of all job growth (pdf) in the US economy. The industry also added more than 20% more jobs than it did on average in 2023, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. These jobs were mostly in ambulatory healthcare and at hospitals and nursing facilities, as employers look to fill those patient-facing jobs.

“The current state of the healthcare sector, characterized by both significant job growth and notable layoffs, reflects its ongoing adjustment to economic pressures and technological advancements,” Tebra’s Stephanie Martinez told Quartz.

She noted the “persistent demand for clinical roles amidst an aging population and expanding healthcare needs indicates that the sector continues to grow” even with job cuts hitting non-clinical positions.

All the healthcare industry layoffs this year so far

January

Thoughout January: Assorted Pharma and biotech companies from Pfizer to Aera Therapeutics and Rakuten Medical cut jobs.

Jan. 23: News also breaks that two hospitals in Western Wisconsin will close, affecting 1,407 jobs.

Jan. 24: Drugstore chain Rite Aid says that it will shutter 55 more stores across the country, in addition to the 154 closures announced last year.

Jan. 30: Northwest Texas Healthcare System, a teaching facility and medical center that employs nearly 2,000 Texans, announces the elimination of “a limited number of positions.” Health and retail chain CVS says it will close 25 MinuteClinics in Los Angeles by the end of February. CVS declined to share how many jobs were affected by the closures.

February

Feb. 1: Iowa-based Grand River Medical Group cuts 52 jobs. Layoffs at large local hospitals in Long Beach, California reach 72. These are mostly not patient-facing roles, the employers say.

Feb. 2: The University of Chicago Medical Center lays off 180 employees, most of which are not in patient care. Rush University System for Health, also in Chicago, cuts an undisclosed number of jobs.

Feb. 5: Nonprofit health insurance provider Medica (paywall) lays off 162 staffers.

Feb. 6: Travel nursing startup Nomad Health announces job cuts, following layoffs last October that affected 17% of its workforce. Amazon says it’s eliminating hundreds of roles from its healthcare division, Amazon Health Services. And biotech company Rallybio slashes 45% of its staffers.



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