This post was updated on May 14, 2020 to include data on demand for workers with certifications and licenses in the healthcare field.
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, some industries are hiring while others are contracting, including:
- Between the first week of March and the second week of April 2020 (the latest data available), the number of job listings has increased dramatically in several key industries, including cargo and freight agents (+131.7% increase), respiratory therapists (+104.8%), Postal Service clerks (+25.6%), Actuaries (+25.0), and food batchmakers (+18.1%).
In that same period, other industries saw huge decreases in job listings, including restaurant hosts (-73.8% decrease), baggage porters and bellhops (-71.1%), hotel managers (-62.6%), massage therapists (-61.4%), and librarians (-51.4%).
Although the economy has suffered job losses at a historical levels not seen since the Great Depression, demand for healthcare workers has remained steady or even growing for some occupations.
In March 2020, the number of healthcare jobs posted online on average every day increased by 8.8 percent over February’s average. This is a stark contrast with the total number of all job postings, which dropped by 43 percent in March alone.
While the labor market has contracted at record pace, the latest data shows that frontline healthcare, healthcare support, and essential industry workers are still in growing demand. Many of these occupations are also ones that rely on immigrant workers. This includes registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists, but also jobs like stock movers, order fillers, packers, and butchers.
The number of healthcare jobs requiring multiple language skills has been increasing steadily in the past 5 years and is likely to go up given the demands of the pandemic.
- Since 2014, the number of healthcare job postings looking for bilingual workers nearly tripled from 57,454 in 2014 to 150,145 in 2019.
- The share of all healthcare job postings requiring language skills grew from just 2.9% to 4.7% over the same number of years.
Number of Healthcare Job Postings Requiring Foreign Language Skills
|Number of Healthcare Job Postings Requiring Foreign Language Skills||57454||70715||80518||90147||128973||150145|
Number of Healthcare Jobs Requiring Foreign Language Skills per 100
|Share of Healthcare Jobs Requiring Foreign Language Skills||2.86||2.93||3.18||3.50||4.54||4.69|
- Some critical jobs like medical interpreters are overwhelmingly done by immigrants: In 2018, more than 58% of all interpreters in the healthcare industry were immigrants.
- The demand for these workers throughout the crisis has continued, making up between 3.3% and 5.6% of all healthcare job postings each week since the start of 2020.
- Healthcare jobs that interact the most with patients and relatives require language skills. These include registered nurses, medical assistants, medical secretaries, customer service representatives, and medical and health services managers.
For healthcare and healthcare support occupations, there is an increased demand for workers that have specific healthcare certificates and licenses related to caring for COVID-19 patients from January to April 2020.
- Job postings requiring certification in infection control increased by 71% during the first four months of 2020.
- Job postings for Registered Respiratory Therapists and Certified Respiratory Therapists increased by nearly 30% from January to April.
- As COVID-19 impacts kidney function in some patients, job postings for Certified Nephrology Nurses and Certified Dialysis Nurses both increased by more than 20% from January to April.
- Since many hospitals have not been providing elective surgeries in March and April, in order to focus on caring for COVID-19 patients, job postings for many healthcare occupations, such as Medical Assistants, Pharmacists, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors, actually decreased during that time.
- However, the share of postings for Licensed Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Critical Care Registered Nurses all increased.
- Within the healthcare support occupations, the share of postings for Certified Home Health Aide also increased.