Labor and Unemployment Considerations for Healthcare Turnover

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

The impact of healthcare employee turnover is significant across the continuum of healthcare in the U.S. Every time an employee leaves, there is a negative effect on care quality, patient experience, and organizational operations.

The HealthStream article, 7 Common Reasons People Leave Healthcare Jobs and What to Do about It, looks at the labor market, examines national unemployment trends, and connects them to the retention problem in healthcare. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Demand for Labor is Greater Than Our Supply of It

Because the United States has a predominantly service-based economy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also tells us “Jobs in health care and social assistance are expected to drive most of the job growth during this period” (Work Institute, 2018). It also offers the fact that “Health care and social assistance jobs will account for more than one-third of jobs added and represent more than 55% of the fastest-growing occupations” (Work Institute, 2018). However, even as the demand for new employee candidates has risen, their numbers have not increased or even kept up the same pace.

A Lower Employed Population

As a result of the worker shortage it is likely that employers will keep employees they would otherwise have let go—filling open positions will become even more difficult. The Work Institute cautions us that “Not as many people participate in the workforce as they did 20 years ago, and participation is decreasing. The employment population ratio, the percent of the population employed in the workforce, is currently at about 60%. During the Great Recession, this ratio sank to about 58%. It was averaging over 64% around the turn of the century. Not everyone in the population can work, so as this figure continues to grow, the labor pool shrinks” (Work Institute, 2018).

The Unemployment Rate Is Ever Lower

We are reaching a state of full employment where nearly everyone who can and wants to work does so. McKnight’s Long-Term Care News describes the difficulty that this situating is creating for healthcare, especially for organization across the continuum of care. A 2018 article tells readers that “For places like Denver where the current unemployment rate is an incredibly low 2.8%, ‘full employment’ means both a booming economy and a particularly difficult market for retaining team members who care for older adults. Across our state and nation, the large baby boomer population is continuing to age” (Keller, 2018), further exacerbating the need and the problem.



Keller, Jayne, “Caring for those who care: Retaining your team through revolutionizing the workplace,” McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, July 11, 2018, Retrieved at https://www.mcknights.com/guest-columns/caring-for-those-who-care-retaining-your-team-through-revolutionizing-the-work­place/article/780072/

Work Institute, “2018 Retention Report: Truth & Trends in Turnover,” Retrieved at http://info.workinstitute.com/retentionreport2018.

Download the full article here.