The financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced hundreds of hospitals across the nation to furlough, lay off or reduce pay for workers, and others have had to scale back services or close.
Lower patient volumes, canceled elective procedures and higher expenses tied to the pandemic have created a cash crunch for hospitals. U.S. hospitals are estimated to lose more than $323 billion this year, according to a report from the American Hospital Association. The total includes $120.5 billion in financial losses the AHA predicts hospitals will see from July to December.
Hospitals are taking a number of steps to offset financial damage. Executives, clinicians and other staff are taking pay cuts, capital projects are being put on hold, and some employees are losing their jobs. More than 260 hospitals and health systems furloughed workers this year and dozens of others have implemented layoffs.
Below are 11 hospitals and health systems that announced layoffs since Sept. 1, most of which were attributed to financial strain caused by the pandemic.
1. NorthBay Healthcare, a nonprofit health system based in Fairfield, Calif., is laying off 31 of its 2,863 employees as part of its pandemic recovery plan, the system announced Nov. 2.
2. Minneapolis-based Children’s Minnesota is laying off 150 employees, or about 3 percent of its workforce. Children’s Minnesota cited several reasons for the layoffs, including the financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected employees will end their employment either Dec. 31 or March 31.
3. Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital in Vermont, notified 85 employees in late October that they would be laid off within 60 days.
4. Citing a need to offset financial losses, Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview said it plans to downsize its hospital and clinic operations. As a result of the changes, 900 employees, about 3 percent of its 34,000-person workforce, will be laid off.
5. Lake Charles (La.) Memorial Health System laid off 205 workers, or about 8 percent of its workforce, as a result of damage sustained from Hurricane Laura. The health system laid off employees at Moss Memorial Health Clinic and the Archer Institute, two facilities in Lake Charles that sustained damage from the hurricane.
6. Burlington, Mass.-based Wellforce laid off 232 employees as a result of operating losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system, comprising Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital and MelroseWakefield Healthcare, experienced a drastic drop in patient volume earlier this year due to the suspension of outpatient visits and elective surgeries. In the nine months ended June 30, the health system reported a $32.2 million operating loss.
7. Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany, Ind., part of Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Health, eliminated 36 positions. The hospital said the cuts, which primarily affected administrative and nonclinical roles, are due to restructuring that is “necessary to meet financial challenges compounded by COVID-19.”
8. Cincinnati-based UC Health laid off about 100 employees. The job cuts affected both clinical and non-clinical staff. A spokesperson for the health system said no physicians were laid off.
9. Mercy Iowa City (Iowa) announced in September that it will lay off 29 employees to address financial strain tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. Springfield, Ill.-based Memorial Health System laid off 143 employees, or about 1.5 percent of the five-hospital system’s workforce. The health system cited financial pressures tied to the pandemic as the reason for the layoffs.
11. Watertown, N.Y.-based Samaritan Health announced Sept. 8 that it laid off 51 employees and will make other cost-cutting moves to offset financial stress tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tens of millions of people have been on unemployment at some point in the last seven months, since the pandemic began. Now, thousands are being told they have to pay some or all of that money back, either because they made an error when they applied for benefits, or the state did.
“People are terrified by these messages, and they’re coming in swarms,” said Anne Paxton of the Unemployment Law Project. “We’re hearing about this all the time.”
Many people receiving overpayment notices have already used their benefits to pay for basic living expenses.
“I don’t have $10,000 sitting around,” said Larson Ross, 25, who got a notice of overpayment from the state of Colorado in late August. “I was a low-wage tea house worker who was unemployed for four months. I was using the money from unemployment for food and rent. So it’s spent.”
He has no idea what he’s going to do. He’s never been so stressed in his life.
“The few days after I first received the letter I found it really hard to get out of bed at all,” Ross said. “It’s really tough.”
There are a variety of reasons people might get an overpayment of benefits notice. In Ross’ case, his employer successfully contested his eligibility for unemployment, saying he quit, which he disputes. In some cases, it’s because an applicant misunderstood or mischaracterized something on their application. In other cases, the state may have miscalculated a benefit, or approved an application before verifying all the information.
While this also happened in pre-pandemic times, the issue is particularly acute now given the historic number of claims that have flooded state unemployment offices since March — and the state of the economy.
“The circumstances for returning to work are just not the same,” said Kathy White, deputy director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. “Congress needs to recognize that, and make sure that the systems that they’re putting in place for workers to help them through this time, that are just immediate relief … they cannot be punitive. Coming out of COVID with a $15,000 debt that you cannot repay is not helpful.”
With traditional unemployment insurance benefits and with Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, if someone has been overpaid, states have the discretion to waive repayment, as long as there was no fraud involved — particularly if repayment would cause financial hardship. But that is not the case with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Under current federal law, states do not have the authority to waive repayment of PUA benefits if a person was overpaid, according to Michele Evermore of the National Employment Law Project.
“This is honestly the biggest reason that Congress needs to do something on COVID relief,” she said. “If this issue doesn’t get solved, this is going to be more explosive than people losing the $600 in some ways, because they’ll have to pay back six months of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Nobody who qualified for PUA is going to have that much money sitting around.”
Andrew Tolch applied for PUA in the spring, on the advice of both his bank and his accountant, when he had to temporarily close down his toy store in St. Louis, Missouri because of COVID.
He was approved, and used all the money he got — less than $200 a week in PUA, plus the extra $600 a week in FPUC — to pay utilities and rent for the store.
Then, over the summer, he got an overpayment notice from the state of Missouri: he owed a big chunk of that money back — $2,376 in total.
“I was shocked, and I didn’t understand it,” he said. “I followed the rules correctly. We should have qualified, and according to the rules they gave us, we qualified.”
Tolch has since connected with a number of other small business owners in Missouri who also got notices of overpayment, and he said none of them understands why the state is now saying they didn’t qualify for pandemic assistance. They’re considering the possibility of a class action lawsuit.
“It will sink a lot of people if they would have to give it all back,” Tolch said. “Just one more blow from 2020 to small businesses.”
People who think they got an overpayment notice in error, or who can’t afford to repay the benefits, can always appeal — and should, according to Eric Salinger, director of the Employment Law Project at Alaska Legal Services.
But for people who do not win on appeal, or do not get a repayment waiver, states can find ways to recoup that money. Some are more aggressive than others, according to Evermore.
“Every state has different recoupment authority,” she said. “In some states, other benefits can be garnished to pay for that. Taxes could be garnished, future wages could be garnished.”
Larson Ross is afraid that will happen to him. He finally found a seasonal job in northern Colorado, and is making enough money to get by this month, at least — as long as the state doesn’t garnish his wages. Then, he doesn’t know.
Kathy White is hoping that Colorado and other states will use their discretion to waive repayment in cases where there was no fraud, and that Congress will change the law so states can waive overpayment recoupment of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
“It should be just forgiveness for error or overpayment in these unusual circumstances,” she said. “You don’t want to put people in a worse position because of the aid you’re trying to give them.”
U.S. states saw another 840,000 jobless claims filed last week, as the number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment insurance benefits each week continues to hover at a historically high level.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its weekly jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to Bloomberg estimates:
- Initial jobless claims, week ended Oct. 3: 840,000 vs. 820,000 expected and 849,000 during the prior week
- Continuing claims, week ended Sept. 26: 10.976 million vs. 11.4 million expected and 11.979 million during the prior week
New weekly unemployment insurance claims have held below the psychologically important 1 million mark for the past six consecutive weeks, but have so far failed to break below 800,000 since the start of the pandemic. At 840,000 last week’s new claims remained at a level still handily above the pre-pandemic record high of 695,000 from 1982.
The past two weeks’ jobless claims totals have also been flattered by an absence of updated new claims out of California. The state – which has consistently been one of the biggest contributors to new weekly claims – announced last week it was taking a two-week pause in processing initial claims to “reduce its claims processing backlog and implement fraud prevention technology,” according to the Labor Department’s statement.
Across all programs, the total number of jobless claims decreased for the week ending Sept. 19. Total claims came in at 25.5 million, down from the about 26.5 million during the previous week, as a smaller number of self-employed or gig workers not eligible for regular state programs claimed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. But the number of workers collecting benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program – which offers an extra 13 weeks’ worth of federal benefits to those who had exhausted previous state or federal compensation – rose by 154,000 to 1.96 million.
Continuing jobless claims, which are reported on a one-week lag and represent the total number of individuals still receiving state unemployment benefits, continued their gradual downtrend last week. But as with new jobless claims, continuing claims have held well above pre-pandemic levels, and have not broken below the 10 million mark in more than 6 months.
“Net, initial filings fell less than expected last week. The improvement in continuing claims is reflecting people being hired but also individuals exhausting their benefits,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief economist for High Frequency Economics, said in an email. “Overall, the signal from the claims data is still one of ongoing weak conditions in the labor market. Even as filings are declining, levels remain extraordinarily high. Employment growth has already slowed and without fiscal support that protected jobs, risks are skewed to the downside for payrolls going forward.”
The latest jobless claims report comes amid dimming hopes for another round of virus relief measures out of Congress, despite increasingly urgent calls from Federal Reserve officials for more fiscal stimulus to support individual Americans more directly.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had asked his negotiators to halt further stimulus talks until after the election, but added that he would support standalone measures providing tens of billions of dollars for airline payroll support and the Paycheck Protection Program. House Democrats, however, have previously balked at the notion of passing slimmed down versions of a stimulus package – meaning the prospect of further fiscal stimulus in the next month remains unlikely.
The June unemployment rate of 11.1 percent, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, reflects a continuing, cautious economic recovery. What those numbers don’t show is an increase in employment driven disproportionately by part-time work and industries that are vulnerable to another shutdown.
According to the Labor Department’s survey of American households, many of those workers would work full-time if they could and are working part-time only because of poor economic conditions. The number of people pushed into part-time work has more than doubled since February. Meanwhile, the number of people who work part-time by choice is still down by 23 percent.
The unemployment rate isn’t wrong: Part-time work is still work. However, those jobs have already proved to be vulnerable to a slowing economy. Anyone pushed into part-time work by the coronavirus’s initial shock to the economy may be even more vulnerable in the case of future shutdowns. And part-time workers may not have access to benefits such as health insurance that are available to full-time workers.
The industries that bounced back in May and June are also at the mercy of future shutdowns as coronavirus cases surge across the Sun Belt. For instance, unemployment in leisure and hospitality is still very high but dropped by 10 percentage points from April’s staggering 40 percent. Retail and wholesale unemployment dropped by a third. In contrast, finance, government and professional services have had a slow start to recovery. Unemployment in the information industry actually increased from May to June.
If the greatest gains in employment are in industries that suffered most in the early stages of the pandemic, those gains are vulnerable to future waves of shutdowns. Meanwhile, less-volatile industries may continue to be slow to bounce back. A Congressional Budget Office report predicted that the unemployment rate is expected to stay above its pre-pandemic levels through the end of 2030.
To address the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the nation are looking to cut costs by implementing furloughs, layoffs or pay cuts.
U.S. hospitals are expected to lose $323.1 billion this year due to the pandemic, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association. The total includes $120.5 billion in financial losses that hospitals are projected to see from July through December, as well as $202.6 billion in losses that were projected between March and June. The losses were largely due to a lower patient volume after canceling elective procedures.
Although Congress allocated $175 billion to help hospitals offset some of the revenue losses and expense increases to prepare for the pandemic, hospitals have said it is not enough.
Nearly 270 hospitals and health systems have furloughed workers in response to the pandemic and several others have implemented layoffs.
Below are 12 hospitals and health systems that have announced layoffs since June 1:
1. Trinity Health furloughs, lays off another 1,000 workers
Trinity Health, a 92-hospital system based in Livonia, Mich., will lay off and reduce work schedules of 1,000 employees.
2. Ohio children’s hospital cuts jobs
Dayton (Ohio) Children’s Hospital said it has cut jobs to help offset financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Munson Healthcare to cut 25 leadership positions
Traverse City, Mich.-based Munson Healthcare cut 25 leadership positions to help offset financial losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. Erlanger lays off 93 nonclinical employees
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System has cut 93 nonclinical positions to help offset financial damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs come after the health system cut 11 leadership positions June 12, including the CEO of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy, N.C., and made staff and pay cuts in March.
5. Michigan Medicine to lay off 738 employees by end of June
Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine planned to eliminate 738 positions by the end of June amid financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Pennsylvania health system cuts 10% of workforce amid pandemic losses
As part of a restructuring effort to cut pandemic-related losses, State College, Pa.-based Mount Nittany Health System plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, or about 250 employees.
7. TriHealth eliminates 440 positions to cut costs
Cincinnati-based TriHealth cut 440 positions as part of a plan to trim at least $140 million in expenditures this year.
8. Layoffs hit U of Kansas Health System
The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus in Topeka laid off employees after previously implementing furloughs.
9. Tower Health to cut 1,000 jobs
Citing a $212 million loss in revenue through May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Reading, Pa.-based Tower Health plans to cut 1,000 jobs.
10. Colorado hospital cuts 22 positions
Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo., eliminated 22 positions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
11. Arkansas Children’s cuts 42 positions
Little Rock-based Arkansas Children’s Hospital said it is eliminating 42 jobs as part of cost-savings measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
12. North Carolina health system cuts 10% of workforce, closes clinics
Citing a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, Lumberton, N.C.-based Southeastern Health will permanently close several clinics, cut 10 percent of its workforce and reduce executive pay.
Healthcare added 358,000 jobs in June, with hospitals seeing their first modest gain since March, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Within ambulatory healthcare services, dentist offices saw the biggest job gains in June, with more than 190,000 new jobs. Physician offices saw more than 80,000 job gains, and other healthcare practitioners’ offices had more than 48,000 gains in June.
Hospitals added 6,700 jobs in June, the first job gains seen since losing 26,700 jobs in May and 134,900 positions in April.
Nursing and residential care facilities lost 18,300 jobs last month, compared to 36,600 jobs lost in May.
Overall, the U.S. added nearly 4.8 million jobs in June, marking the second months of gains. The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April, but added 2.5 million in May. The unemployment rate also declined to 11.1 percent in June, compared to 13.3 percent in May.
To view the full jobs report, click here.
Chair Powell submitted identical remarks to the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2020.
Chairman Crapo, Ranking Member Brown, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Federal Reserve’s semiannual Monetary Policy Report.
Our country continues to face a difficult and challenging time, as the pandemic is causing tremendous hardship here in the United States and around the world. The coronavirus outbreak is, first and foremost, a public health crisis. The most important response has come from our health-care workers. On behalf of the Federal Reserve, I want to express our sincere gratitude to these dedicated individuals who put themselves at risk, day after day, in service to others and to our nation.
Current Economic Situation and Outlook
Beginning in mid-March, economic activity fell at an unprecedented speed in response to the outbreak of the virus and the measures taken to control its spread. Even after the unexpectedly positive May employment report, nearly 20 million jobs have been lost on net since February, and the reported unemployment rate has risen about 10 percentage points, to 13.3 percent. The decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) this quarter is likely to be the most severe on record. The burden of the downturn has not fallen equally on all Americans. Instead, those least able to withstand the downturn have been affected most. As discussed in the June Monetary Policy Report, low-income households have experienced, by far, the sharpest drop in employment, while job losses of African Americans, Hispanics, and women have been greater than that of other groups. If not contained and reversed, the downturn could further widen gaps in economic well-being that the long expansion had made some progress in closing.
Recently, some indicators have pointed to a stabilization, and in some areas a modest rebound, in economic activity. With an easing of restrictions on mobility and commerce and the extension of federal loans and grants, some businesses are opening up, while stimulus checks and unemployment benefits are supporting household incomes and spending. As a result, employment moved higher in May. That said, the levels of output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels, and significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery. Much of that economic uncertainty comes from uncertainty about the path of the disease and the effects of measures to contain it. Until the public is confident that the disease is contained, a full recovery is unlikely.
Moreover, the longer the downturn lasts, the greater the potential for longer-term damage from permanent job loss and business closures. Long periods of unemployment can erode workers’ skills and hurt their future job prospects. Persistent unemployment can also negate the gains made by many disadvantaged Americans during the long expansion and described to us at our Fed Listens events. The pandemic is presenting acute risks to small businesses, as discussed in the Monetary Policy Report. If a small or medium-sized business becomes insolvent because the economy recovers too slowly, we lose more than just that business. These businesses are the heart of our economy and often embody the work of generations.
With weak demand and large price declines for some goods and services—such as apparel, gasoline, air travel, and hotels—consumer price inflation has dropped noticeably in recent months. But indicators of longer-term inflation expectations have been fairly steady. As output stabilizes and the recovery moves ahead, inflation should stabilize and then gradually move back up over time closer to our symmetric 2 percent objective. Inflation is nonetheless likely to remain below our objective for some time.
Monetary Policy and Federal Reserve Actions to Support the Flow of Credit
The Federal Reserve’s response to this extraordinary period is guided by our mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the American people, along with our responsibilities to promote the stability of the financial system. We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time.
In March, we quickly lowered our policy interest rate to near zero, reflecting the effects of COVID-19 on economic activity, employment, and inflation, and the heightened risks to the outlook. We expect to maintain interest rates at this level until we are confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve our maximum-employment and price-stability goals.
We have also been taking broad and forceful actions to support the flow of credit in the economy. Since March, we have been purchasing sizable quantities of Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities in order to support the smooth functioning of these markets, which are vital to the flow of credit in the economy. As described in the June Monetary Policy Report, these purchases have helped restore orderly market conditions and have fostered more accommodative financial conditions. As market functioning has improved since the strains experienced in March, we have gradually reduced the pace of these purchases. To sustain smooth market functioning and thereby foster the effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions, we will increase our holdings of Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities over coming months at least at the current pace. We will closely monitor developments and are prepared to adjust our plans as appropriate to support our goals.
To provide stability to the financial system and support the flow of credit to households, businesses, and state and local governments, the Federal Reserve, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, established 11 credit and liquidity facilities under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The June Monetary Policy Report provides details on these facilities, which fall into two categories: stabilizing short-term funding markets and providing more-direct support for credit across the economy.
To help stabilize short-term funding markets, the Federal Reserve set up the Commercial Paper Funding Facility and the Money Market Liquidity Facility to stem rapid outflows from prime money market funds. The Fed also established the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, which provides loans against good collateral to primary dealers that are critical intermediaries in short-term funding markets.
To more directly support the flow of credit to households, businesses, and state and local governments, the Federal Reserve established a number of facilities. To support the small business sector, we established the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility to bolster the effectiveness of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’s (CARES Act) Paycheck Protection Program. Our Main Street Lending Program, which we are in the process of launching, supports lending to both small and midsized businesses. The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility supports lending to both businesses and consumers. To support the employment and spending of investment-grade businesses, we established two corporate credit facilities. And to help U.S. state and local governments manage cash flow pressures and serve their communities, we set up the Municipal Liquidity Facility.
The tools that the Federal Reserve is using under its 13(3) authority are appropriately reserved for times of emergency. When this crisis is behind us, we will put them away. The June Monetary Policy Report reviews the implications of these tools for the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet.
Many of these facilities have been supported by funding from the CARES Act. We will be disclosing, on a monthly basis, names and details of participants in each such facility; amounts borrowed and interest rate charged; and overall costs, revenues, and fees for each facility. We embrace our responsibility to the American people to be as transparent as possible, and we appreciate that the need for transparency is heightened when we are called upon to use our emergency powers.
We recognize that our actions are only part of a broader public-sector response. Congress’s passage of the CARES Act was critical in enabling the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to establish many of the lending programs. The CARES Act and other legislation provide direct help to people, businesses, and communities. This direct support can make a critical difference not just in helping families and businesses in a time of need, but also in limiting long-lasting damage to our economy.
I want to end by acknowledging the tragic events that have again put a spotlight on the pain of racial injustice in this country. The Federal Reserve serves the entire nation. We operate in, and are part of, many of the communities across the country where Americans are grappling with and expressing themselves on issues of racial equality. I speak for my colleagues throughout the Federal Reserve System when I say, there is no place at the Federal Reserve for racism and there should be no place for it in our society. Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate fully in our society and in our economy.
We understand that the work of the Federal Reserve touches communities, families, and businesses across the country. Everything we do is in service to our public mission. We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy and to help assure that the recovery from this difficult period will be as robust as possible.
Thank you. I am happy to take your questions.
These Charts Put the Historic U.S. Job Losses in Perspective
When recessions hit, it’s not unusual to see millions of jobs lost.
Such episodes are a regular part of the business cycle and when they occur, most businesses do their best to tough things out. Then, as time progresses, it gradually becomes clear that spending must be curtailed, budget cuts must be made, and workers must unfortunately be sent home.
This economic process normally takes months, or even years, to unwind.
But, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into the economic status quo, creating a situation that is incomparable to any previous downturn. Instead of a gradual economic transition to slower growth prospects, business operations have suddenly screeched to a halt with no clear window to resume.
The Great Lockdown of the economy has been completely unprecedented, both in terms of the speed of the shutdown and its impact on jobs.
As a result, the statistics being released are completely surreal. Perhaps the best example of this is number for initial jobless claims in the U.S., which tops 22 million over the last four weeks.
Worst U.S. Job Losses on Record (Four Week Period)
|Year||Description||Peak Jobless claims (4-wk total)||% of U.S. Population|
|1980||Fed tightening (Volcker)||2.52 million||1.1%|
|1982||Double-dip recession||2.70 million||1.2%|
|1991||Early 1990s recession||2.00 million||0.8%|
|2001||Dotcom Bust||1.96 million||0.7%|
|2009||Great Recession||2.64 million||0.9%|
|2020||The Great Lockdown||22.03 million||6.7%|
As you can see above, the number is 10x higher than many of the worst four-week job losses on record, so historical comparisons don’t come close.
In other words, if you were using recent recessions as a potential barometer of how bad things could get for jobless claims, the numbers coming from COVID-19 crisis just blew up your model.
The Recession Time Machine
To get further context on the numbers above, it’s worth jumping in a time machine to revisit what happened to job numbers in previous recessions:
- Stagflation and Oil Shocks (1973-75)
This recession put an end to the Post WWII global economic expansion, and was characterized by the 1973 oil embargo, the aftermath of the Nixon Shock, and the collapse of the Bretton Woods system of international finance. Unemployment and inflation were both high (stagflation), and the unemployment rate in the U.S. reached 9.0% in May 1975.
- The Double-Dip Recession (1980, 1981-1982)
This “W-shaped” recession saw economic contraction first in 1980, only to return again in 1981. This corresponded with the Iranian Revolution, as well as Fed chair Paul Volcker’s aggressive policy to rein in inflation with high interest rates. Unemployment peaked at 10.8% in 1982 — the highest rate seen since the Great Depression.
- The Great Recession (2009)
The most recent recession in memory peaked with 10.0% in unemployment in October 2009. It took until 2016 for unemployment to fall back to pre-recession levels.
Finally, it’s worth noting that during the Great Depression (1929-1933), unemployment reached a historic high of 24.9%. To get to a comparable equivalent in modern times, there would need to be 41 million Americans out of work permanently.
Room for Optimism
Although the initial jobless claims are staggering and clearly without modern precedent, there is a case to be made for cautious optimism.
Many of the aforementioned recessions took months or years to culminate, with peak job losses occurring at the tail end of each recession. The current crisis, now being called “The Great Lockdown”, caused many businesses to shut doors suddenly and against their will. It also corresponded with unexpected closures of national borders and the halting of regular trade activity around the world.
When and if normal economic activity resumes, it’ll be interesting to see how much of the damage is temporary.
The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania report found that hospitals also supported more than one in every 10 jobs.
Hospitals in Pennsylvania made a total economic impact of $136.1 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, according to a Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) report released Tuesday.
Of the total economic impact, $60.5 billion were the result of “direct impact,” such as employee salaries, benefits, as well as goods and services for hospital operations. Another $75.6 billion were the result of “ripple impact,” such as additional economic effects of a hospital in a community.
HHAP also found that hospitals supported more than 650,000 jobs, accounting for more than one in every 10 jobs in the state and providing $32.3 billion in total wages. Nearly 300,000 jobs were directly associated with hospitals while 363,000 jobs were associated with “ripple effects” of health systems.
The study’s findings point to the significant economic impact provider organizations have in the Keystone State and the need to promote policies that foster continued growth, according to Sari Siegel, PhD, vice president of healthcare research at HAP.
“While overall growth projections are strong, some hospitals remain financially stressed. Our work illustrates that hospitals often are the backbones of their communities and closure could cause devastating economic ripples throughout a region,” Siegel said in a statement. “The findings of this report underscore the need for policies that bolster hospitals’ long-term sustainability.”
Pennsylvania hospitals have contributed significantly to the state’s economy in recent years and have also made headlines throughout 2019.
Hahnemann University Hospital, a Pennsylvania-based hospital, filed for bankruptcy and closed over the summer. A group of six Philadelphia-based health systems won the hospital at auction for $55 million in early August.
The report was also released days after two Pennsylvania-based health systems, Tower Health and Drexel University, finalized a $50 million acquisition of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, a 188-bed pediatric medical center in Philadelphia.
There are 253 hospitals in Pennsylvania, according to HAP, with more than 37,600 staffed beds. The report also found that hospitals are among the 10 largest employers in 85% of counties across the state.
The total economic impact of Pennsylvania hospitals in FY 2018 grew by nearly $50 billion over the past decade, according to a HAP analysis of data collected from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Additionally, Pennsylvania hospitals received nearly $2 billion in research allocations from HHS and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute in FY 2018.