Data Show Nursing Homes Continue to Experience Worst Job Loss Of Any Health Care Sector

Workforce; Research and Data
​WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nursing homes continue to face an unprecedented workforce shortage in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and year-end data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the nationwide challenge into stark perspective. Today, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a new analysis of BLS data which reveals: 

  • Nursing homes have lost 210,000 jobs over the course of the pandemic (from February 2020 to December 2022).
  • The nursing home workforce is at levels not seen since 1994.
  • Job growth in 2022 slowed than previously projected. Nursing homes added an average of 3,700 jobs per month over the last nine months. At the current pace, nursing homes would not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2027. A previous AHCA/NCAL model estimated a recovery in 2026.
  • Nursing homes have experienced the worst job loss of any health care sector. While most industries have rebounded to pre-pandemic job levels, long term care is still struggling.
Although providers are working diligently to fill open positions, recruiting new staff remains a major roadblock, with 96 percent of nursing homes experiencing difficulty in hiring according to a recent survey of more than 500 nursing home providers from across the U.S. Nearly half (45 percent) of nursing home providers said their workforce situation has worsened since May 2022. Facilities are eager to hire, offering increased wages and bonuses to attract staff, but the workers simply are not there. 
“The data doesn’t lie. This is not just an exaggerated call for help, and this labor crisis will not go away on its own or through government enforcement. Our nursing homes are struggling to recruit caregivers, and if we do not get meaningful assistance soon, then the consequence will be hundreds of thousands of seniors displaced,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “We need immediate support, but we also need long-term investments and programs from policymakers to attract individuals to serve our nation’s seniors.” 
Long term care facilities have been forced to limit resident admissions because of staffing shortages. Hospitals are experiencing significant backlogs as well as patients ready for discharge wait for open nursing home beds. In some cases, these labor challenges have resulted in nursing homes permanently closing their doors.
Nursing homes need financial support as well, as many facilities are operating on shoe-string budgets because Medicaid reimbursements rates often fall below the actual costs of care. Added pressures of increasing labor costs and inflation have left nursing homes with little resources to make additional investments in their staff and compete for workers.
Amid this challenge, the Biden Administration is considering implementing a federal staffing minimum for nursing homes.. But a government mandate without the proper resources to recruit staff will only worsen the crisis.
As a proactive step, AHCA/NCAL launched “Careers in Caring,” a nationwide campaign to support nursing homes in building a robust workforce. The campaign’s website,, offers facilities the essential tools and resources they need to drive hiring efforts in their local communities.
Nursing homes across the nation are working to rebuild their workforce, but they cannot do it alone. Lawmakers need to prioritize the long term care industry by providing meaningful and comprehensive solutions that address the root of workforce shortages so seniors have access to the quality care they deserve.