Home Health Job Growth Improving, But Outpaced By Other Health Care Settings

Workers are steadily rejoining the home health care field, new data confirms. Their return comes after many retired or switched to other jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest labor brief from health care research and consulting firm Altarum, upwards of 1.57 million workers were employed in home health care in July 2022. Altarum’s analysis is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In part, job growth is linked to higher wages across health care settings.


“Wages in health care have been growing faster than overall wages in the past year, with year-over-year growth averaging 6.9% in health care since July 2021, compared to 5.1% for all private-sector jobs,” the Altarum brief reads. “Looking at the most recent data point, in June 2022, average hourly earnings in health care grew 7.4% year over year, while earnings across all private sector jobs grew 5.2%.”

July’s home health employment gains were a 2.6% increase over the previous month. On a 12-month basis, July’s employment levels were a 3.9% increase.

While a promising sign for home health operators, it’s worth pointing out that other health care settings saw even greater employment gains. Job growth in ambulatory health care services, physician offices, dentist offices and hospitals all outpaced home health care.


Even nursing and residential care facilities reported greater employment gains, according to Altarum.

“Health care employment grew by a robust 69,600 jobs in July 2022,” the brief continues. “Gains were seen in all major settings of care, with ambulatory care adding 47,300 jobs, hospitals adding 12,900 jobs, and nursing and residential care facilities adding 9,400 jobs.”

Multiple home health providers have described the labor improvements they’ve seen of late.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED), for example, was able to bring its utilization of contract labor down in the second quarter of the year to about 3.5%. Prior to the second quarter, Amedisys had a contract labor rate of about 4%.

“If we stay in that kind of range at 3% to 3.5%, we would certainly be happy,” CFO Scott Ginn said during a Q2 earnings call. “And [that] keeps us in our modeling for the full year.”

Dallas-based home health company Enhabit Inc. (NYSE: EHAB) has similarly seen workforce improvements, largely due to the recruitment and retention investments it has made over the past several months.

An example: Enhabit has updated its mileage-reimbursement policy for clinicians in the field to be more competitive.

“[We] have had, every quarter since last year, we’ve had positive net new hires,” Enhabit CEO Barb Jacobsmeyer recently told Home Health Care News. “Basically, this is looking and saying, ‘Do we have net more nursing folks today than we did last quarter this time?’ Starting quarter three of last year, we started making momentum on the net new nursing hires. And so we felt that’s a combination of lowering turnover and improving hiring.”

For broader context, with the 528,000 jobs added in July, the overall economy returned to the pre-pandemic employment level of 152.5 million jobs, according to Altarum. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate returned to the pre-pandemic low of 3.5%.

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