Monthly Jobs Report: December 2023

The December 2023 Jobs Report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that total employment rose by +216,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, while temporary help services employment declined by -33,300 jobs overall. The temporary agency market presence was 1.80% in December, down from an updated November rate of 1.82%. The national unemployment rate has remained unchanged at 3.7%.

Employment in December expanded across most industry groups. The group with the largest gain was again Health and Social Assistance, which added +58,900 jobs and again followed by Government, which added +52,000 new openings.

These findings align with the ongoing market trends we're continuing to see across healthcare as a whole and within our Relode customer base. Many organizations are reevaluating their need for temporary workers and travelers while also reducing their spend and reliance on expensive staffing agencies. With many organizations choosing to build internal TA teams, reduce their agency spend, and, in some cases, remove agencies altogether. This is on par with SIA's predictions that there will be an overall decrease in spend for healthcare staffing throughout 2024. The time is ripe for a new approach.

Here are the high-level takeaways you need to know as we review the BLS December jobs report...

1. Healthcare Employment Growth

In December, the healthcare sector added 38,000 jobs, with continuous growth in ambulatory services (+19,000) and hospitals (+15,000).

The average monthly job growth in healthcare in 2023 was 55,000, exceeding the 2022 average of 46,000 jobs per month.

Relode Jobs Report Template


2. Consistent Healthcare Job Expansion

Employment across the healthcare sector has been consistently expanding, showcasing stability and demand within the industry. This steady growth aligns with the broader trend of job market expansion continuing into 2024.

Demand for healthcare services is expected to result in strong job growth in the healthcare and social assistance sector, accounting for over one-third of total projected job growth through 2024.

3. Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7% in December, with the number of unemployed persons essentially unchanged at 6.3 million.

Compared to the previous year, both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were higher, indicating a shift in the job market.

4. Healthcare Sub-Sectors

Ambulatory healthcare services (+19,000 jobs) and hospitals (+15,000 jobs) are notable contributors to healthcare job growth, reflecting sustained demand for outpatient and inpatient healthcare services. 

The specific areas of growth within healthcare indicate the population's evolving needs and the healthcare industry's response to those needs.


NBC December Jobs Report

5. Outlook for 2024

Looking ahead to what 2024 holds, SIA projects a 3% growth for the staffing industry overall (4.1% excluding travel nursing), in line with expectations for minimal GDP growth and high interest rates creating a headwind.

Given this environment, single-digit growth is projected across most segments of the staffing industry. With the exception of a forecasted 3% decline in healthcare staffing.

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