The final 2021 U.S. Labor Department Employment Situation Report once again provided evidence that COVID, in particular the spread of the Omicron variant, has restrained job growth. A smaller-than-expected 199,000 jobs were added in December 2021 and the unemployment rate hit edged down to 3.9% from 4.2% . Furthermore, according to the Bureau's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), workers left their jobs at record-breaking pace of 4.5 million resignations.
The healthcare sector recorded a loss of 3,100 jobs and 52,000 resignations took place within the larger healthcare and social-assistance industry. The healthcare sector gained 143,800 jobs in 2021, remains down 449,500 jobs since pre-pandemic levels.