Recent data from a healthcare research and consultancy firm show growth in employment in the home health field. These numbers come after many retired or moved to other healthcare settings during the onset of COVID-19.
Based on related data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 1.57 million workers were employed in home health in July 2022. This data is equivalent to a 2.6 increase in employment over the previous month and a 3.9% increase on a 12-month basis.
Higher Wages in Healthcare
Job growth in home health has a lot to do with higher wages across all healthcare settings. There has been a year-over-year average growth of 6.9% since July 2021, in comparison to 5.1% for all private sector jobs.
The most recent data also indicate that average hourly earnings grew in June 2022 by 7.4% yearly, while all private sector jobs grew by 5.2%. Healthcare employment increased to 69,600 jobs in July 2022 with 47,300 jobs in ambulatory care, 12,900 jobs in hospitals, and 9,400 jobs in nursing and residential care facilities.
Evident Labor Improvements
There has been a notable upturn in labor that many home health providers have experienced. Many agencies reported lower utilization of contract labor in the previous quarters. Labor improvements were largely due to recruitment and retention investments, such as higher wages and additional incentives for home health clinicians over the past several months. Consequently, these efforts translated into lower turnover and net new clinician hires.
With these numbers, the bigger picture is looking positive as the overall economy has returned to the pre-pandemic employment level of 152.5 million jobs, while the unemployment rate returned to the pre-pandemic low of 3.5%.
Leveraging Employment Growth
The increasing numbers of home health jobs certainly bring optimism to the industry. However, agencies should realize that this upturn in home health employment will only be beneficial to them if they complement it with the right recruitment and retention efforts, such as investing in professional development and improving clinicians’ experience at work.
On the other hand, considering the subsequent growing demand for home healthcare, agencies still need to maximize clinical staffing for patient care. One effective strategy is to outsource the clinical back-office functions. This would provide clinicians with support in areas like documentation accuracy and re-education, so they can focus on delivering quality patient care. These will be key factors that can lead to better patient outcomes and ultimately, business growth.