Healthcare Labor Pressures are Slowly Easing

Healthcare Labor Pressures are Slowly Easing

Healthcare labor conditions are slowly but surely becoming less volatile for US-based nonprofit hospitals. Slowly but surely, job openings in the space are regressing back towards pre-pandemic numbers. Though a 6.4% rate (as of October 2023) is still high, it is the lowest it has ever been since 2021  According to a report from Fitch Ratings, this coincides with an increase in payrolls and a decrease in year-over-year wage growth, compared to its recent heights.

None of this means that healthcare facilities are out of the woods, by any stretch of the imagination. According to Richard Park, a director from Fitch Ratings, healthcare workers are in a uniquely favorable position, moving forward. The field is both skilled and competitive and costs of living are continuing to rise. This is all while healthcare providers (HCPs) across the country are leaving the industry due to early retirements.

“Labor tensions may put more pressure on wages and subsequently make managing costs more difficult for health systems over time as union contract negotiations are occurring during a period of increased bargaining power for workers,” Park explained.

In the short term, hospitals can still expect to see a ballooning of operation costs. Employee wage growth has remained flat in recent months, yet hospital and ambulatory payrolls have only continued to rise. Experts predict that these costs will “eclipse the levels they were at, during the pandemic.”

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