Unemployment 2020

Despite the pandemic, some jobs in health care have declined

Andy Uhler Oct 8, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Doctors and nurses confer in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Leonardtown, Maryland. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Unemployment 2020

Despite the pandemic, some jobs in health care have declined

Andy Uhler Oct 8, 2020
Doctors and nurses confer in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Leonardtown, Maryland. Win McNamee/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The latest weekly unemployment insurance claims numbers out Thursday show another 840,000 people applied for benefits last week. One of the sectors that has seen job losses, even during a pandemic, is health care.

It might seem logical that in a pandemic, demand for health care workers would be up. But Ani Turner, co-director of sustainable health spending strategies at the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit that tracks health care spending and employment, said some people have been avoiding going to the doctor since March.

“It’s a combination of less care being provided of certain types,” she said.

Care like elective surgeries, which often pay the bills, and some people are just choosing to not have them.

“So you need fewer staff and big revenue hits,” Turner said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the health care industry gained more than 100,000 jobs in September. But the sector is still down about 800,000 jobs from this time last year, according to Amitabh Chandra, professor of public policy at Harvard University. He said some of those jobs just won’t be coming back.

“We will figure out, as a result of the pandemic, some of those jobs were not necessary,” Chandra said.

Specifically, he pointed to some support and administrative positions, especially with more people using telemedicine. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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