September 20, 2022

Changes in HCW unemployment during COVID-19 periods

Editor's Note

This study from The Wharton School, Philadelphia, and Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, examines changes in unemployment among healthcare workers (HCWs) from January 2015 to April 2022.

The researchers found that:

  • Prepandemic, 2.28% of HCWs and 3.82% of non-HCWs reported being unemployed.
  • During the pandemic, 3.18% of HCWs and 6.13% of non-HCWs reported being unemployed.

After regression adjustment analysis:

  • The increase in unemployment was smaller for HCWs relative to non-HCWs and hospital-based HCWs relative to non-hospital-based HCWs, comparing prepandemic and pandemic periods.
  • Being in a lower-income HCW field (therapists, technicians, and aides) was associated with greater increases in unemployment from pandemic period to period, compared with physicians.
  • Those with bachelor’s degrees reported less unemployment than those with less education, comparing prepandemic and pandemic periods.

The findings are relevant because fewer healthcare job opportunities have implications for quality of care, HCW satisfaction, and patient outcomes, the researchers say.

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