Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon

The U.S. Economy Can't Hire Health-Care Workers Fast Enough

The shortage is great news for all workers hoping to get a raise

Somebody call a doctor.

Job openings in the healthcare industry soared in April to a new record high in more than 14 years of data, while hiring barely budged. It's great news for industry professionals who are seeking work or a pay raise. Here's how much those help-wanted ads have been on a tear:

The 910,000 listings in the healthcare industry almost doubled the 513,000 who were added to payrolls, meaning there were about 1.8 jobs available for every person who was hired. Across all private employers, that ratio tilted in the job seeker's favor for the first time ever in April, as openings outpaced hires by a rate of 1.05. Take a look at the relative tightness in the health-care jobs market, compared to all industries, with a reading of 1 here showing the listings on par with new staff:

The further tightening in the health-care market that's empowering employees could bode well for pay increases, which have been sluggish to materialize in this expansion. Wages in the industry grew by 2.2 percent in the year through April after a 2.3 percent increase the prior month that was the strongest since the end of 2012, separate Labor Department figures showed last week. Average hourly earnings for all private employees rose 2.3 percent in May after 2.2 percent in the previous month.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to show that average hourly earnings growth for the health-care industry have only been updated through April, not May as initially reported.)

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