Perspective: Health Care Regains More than 40 Percent of Jobs Lost, But Impact of COVID Resurgence Lies Ahead

July 02, 2020

Ani Turner

According to today’s jobs report, health care added 358,000 jobs in June 2020. Combined with the 315,000 jobs added in May, the health sector has regained 43% of the 1.6 million jobs lost in March and April. Workload and employment in ambulatory care settings, where most of the job losses occurred, have come back more quickly than anticipated. Health sector employment trends have looked similar to overall employment trends during this economic downturn, but health care is coming back a bit more quickly; the economy overall has regained 34% of the 22.16 million jobs lost since February.

Month-over-month change in health care employment, seasonally adjusted

Chart showing month-over-month change in health care employment, seasonally adjusted, through June 2020

Source: Altarum analysis of BLS Current Employment Statistics data.

Dental offices continue to play a lead role in health employment trends. Dental offices lost more than half a million (549,000) jobs in March and April, about a third of the total decline in health jobs, but these offices have rebounded quickly. With 190,000 jobs gained in June added to the 256,000 gained in May, dental offices have now regained 81% of the jobs lost. Ambulatory care settings overall have regained 58% of jobs lost.

Employment in hospitals did not fall as quickly or as hard as in ambulatory care, but hospital jobs are just starting to recover. After losing 161,000 jobs in April and May hospital employment stabilized in June, regaining 7,000 jobs. These national figures likely mask larger ups and downs in hospital furloughs and rehiring as the timing and intensity of pandemic effects varied around the country.

Nursing homes and other residential care facilities continue to shed jobs. With 20,000 jobs lost in June, employment is down by -194,000 over the past four months. Nursing homes and residential care facilities are facing greater challenges than other health care settings in regaining occupancy. We will be doing a more detailed analysis of trends in residential care settings in a forthcoming blog.

Unfortunately, the pandemic in the U.S. has worsened since these data were collected. These figures represent employment as of mid-June 2020 and reflect the reopening of businesses in most states. The resurgence in cases and further spread of COVID-19 throughout the country are requiring renewed restrictions which will likely interrupt this employment and economic recovery story.


Altarum is a nonprofit organization that works with federal and state agencies and foundations to design and implement solutions to improve the health of individuals with fewer financial resources and populations disenfranchised by the health care system. We achieve measurable results by combining our expertise in public health and health care delivery with technology, workforce training and continuing education, applied research, and technical assistance. Our innovative solutions lead to better health for beneficiaries and better value for payers.
Health Care Regains More than 40 Percent of Jobs Lost, But Impact of COVID Resurgence Lies Ahead


Ani Turner

Ani Turner  - MA

Program Director, Health Economics and Policy

Areas of Expertise
  • Health Spending
  • Health Equity
  • Health Workforce

With over 30 years of experience working with government, commercial, and philanthropic clients, Ani leads Altarum research and policy analyses in areas such as health spending and workforce and the economic impacts of investments in improving health and advancing racial equity. Ani holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in applied economics with a concentration in labor economics, both from the University of Michigan.