Business person holding a help wanted sign
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The nursing home industry has finally started to make employment gains after losing more than 200,000 workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new federal statistics. 

Preliminary data published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the healthcare sector added 28,300 jobs during the month of May — with nursing facilities and hospitals experiencing some of the largest gains within the sector.

Nursing homes and residential care facilities added about 5,600 jobs altogether. Community care facilities for the elderly tacked on about 3,000 jobs for the month, while nursing facilities gained about 1,300 jobs for the month. Hospitals added 16,300 jobs for the month of May. 

Data from long-term care providers has shown that the nursing homes have lost about 240,000 jobs since February 2020, BLS said. Providers have said that addressing the historic and longstanding workforce crisis should be a top concern among federal lawmakers. 

“The reality is that we are looking for workers that, at the present time, don’t exist and the pipeline is shrinking daily,” a LeadingAge spokeswoman told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Friday. 

“Addressing the staffing issues in long-term care has got to be priority No. 1 — and every possible resource must be explored to turnaround a dire situation,” she added.