The COVID-19 Delta variant likely tampered with job growth last month, according to the August 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Hiring Situation. In August 235,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy, the fewest jobs in seven months and less than half of the average monthly job growth of 586,000 that has been seen this year. The unemployment rate dropped to a 17-month low of 5.2%, down from 5.6%, a 16-month low. Employment is up by 17 million since April 2020 but down by 5.3 million, or 3.5%, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
While the healthcare sector overall lost 4,900 jobs in August, hospitals marked the second consecutive month of job growth, adding 3,200 jobs. Job losses occurred in nursing and residential care facilities (-6,900) and in ambulatory care settings (-1,200). Ambulatory care has typically been the largest job-producing segment within healthcare’s economic rebound. Overall, 513,400 healthcare jobs have been lost since the start of the pandemic in February 2020, with nursing homes accounting for the majority of job loss (-383,200). Hospitals lost 84,800 jobs and ambulatory care settings lost 45,300 jobs during the same time period.