Online job ads in most employment sectors across the economy dipped by a total 29,600 listings in March, but demand for healthcare practitioners and technicians rose for the month, a new report shows.
The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine report, which tracks more than 1,000 online job boards across the United States, found that advertised vacancies for highly skilled healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, such as registered nurses and radiographic technologists, experienced the largest March gain, up 88,100 to 627,300.
The gain reflects increases in demand for physical and occupational therapists, nurses, and speech pathologists. Labor demand for health support occupations also rose 13,800 to 125,400, the report said.
Demand in the healthcare labor market varies substantially from the higher-paying practitioner and technical jobs to the lower-paying support occupations. In March, advertised vacancies for healthcare practitioners or technical occupations outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in this field by almost 3 to 1, and the average wage in these occupations is $32.64/hour, the report said.
In sharp contrast, the average wage for healthcare support occupations is $12.66/hour and there were almost three unemployed people looking for work in the field for every advertised vacancy, the report said.
In the overall jobs listings, February and March showed a combined drop of 97,000 job listings, which followed three months of large increases, totaling about 750,000 advertised vacancies. There are about 10.9 million unemployed, or 3.76 people for every online job listing, the report said.
"The upturn in labor demand over the last five months (+ 647,000) is a clear signal that the labor market is beginning to recover from the recession," June Shelp, vice president at The Conference Board, said in a media release. "However, the recent February and March data suggests that employers may still be somewhat cautious about significantly expanding their workforce as we are preparing to enter the Spring hiring season."