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Employment in the senior living industry has trended steadily lower during the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in March 2020, senior living payrolls contracted in 12 of the next 14 months. In total, more than 79,000 jobs were lost during this period: 8.1 percent of the industry’s employment base. As of April 2021, senior living employment was at its lowest level since June 2016.

Although overall staffing levels in the senior living industry declined throughout the pandemic, the average number of hours worked by employees trended higher. Senior living employees worked an average of 33.4 hours per week during the first quarter of 2021, which was up 1.8 percent from an average workweek of 32.8 hours during the first quarter of 2020. In the overall private sector, the average employee workweek rose 1.0 percent between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021.

Trends in Average Weekly Hours


Quarterly Averages of Weekly Hours of Senior Living Industry Employees

Within senior living, employee hours registered the largest growth at CCRCs, where employees worked an average of 33.1 hours during the first quarter of 2021, up 2.2 percent from their average workweek of 32.4 hours of first-quarter 2020. Employees at assisted living communities worked an average of 33.7 hours per week during the first quarter of 2021, up 1.5 percent from 33.2 hours during first-quarter 2020.

Wage growth of senior living employees outpaced the overall private sector in recent quarters, with senior living average hourly wages rising 4.9 percent between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021. This represented the fourth consecutive quarter with wage growth above 4 percent. In comparison, average hourly earnings of all private sector employees increased 4.4 percent between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021.

Within the senior living industry, employees at assisted living communities experienced the strongest wage growth in recent quarters, continuing a pre-pandemic trend. Average hourly earnings at assisted living communities jumped 5.9 percent between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, marking the 10th consecutive quarter with wage growth above 4 percent.

Average hourly earnings of employees at CCRCs increased 4.1 percent between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, the fourth consecutive quarter with wage growth above 4 percent.

Trends in Average Hourly Earnings


Quarterly Averages of Hourly Earnings of Senior Living Industry Employees

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