There was much rejoicing on Wall Street and elsewhere Friday, when new Labor Department figures showed the nation’s employers continue to add new jobs.

But there wasn’t much heel kicking to be seen in long-term care.

As is so often the case, seemingly good news can have the opposite effect on this field. And vice versa.

The Labor Department’s tally indicated that our economy continues to roar along. Not only were 300,000-plus new jobs added in March, the unemployment rate dropped a bit — from 3.9% to 3.8%.

It’s not too hard to see why so many outside this field welcome this continuing trend. A robust job market is considered a bulwark against recession. Plus, it’s obviously welcome news for its primary beneficiaries, the workers themselves.

And in a bizarre sort of way, that’s why it’s bad news for long-term care operators, many of whom are struggling to find and keep adequate staffing levels as perhaps never before.

Nor is it  too hard to see why that’s the case. After all, workers are generally inclined to act in what they believe is in their own self interests. Should they feel they can get more wages and/or preferable working conditions and perks elsewhere, they are less likely to work in long-term care.

And as employers in other sectors continue hiring away your prospects and staff (which these numbers suggest is clearly happening), that leaves a smaller candidate pool for filling the gaps.

Which helps at least partially explain why so many positions in this field remain open.

And as long as your competition for talent keeps luring would-be employees elsewhere, the situation is not likely to improve. That is unless you as an employer make your facility their best possible option. And that, my friends, tends to be easier said than done.

For it likely requires more of an investment in things like pay, perks, career-path progressions and so forth. All of those things tend to cost more money.

And to put it as politely as possible, extra money does not appear to be something many operators are swimming in these days.

Of course, there is another option. Hope for a nice recession.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s.

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.