The U.S. is experiencing one of its worst labor shortages in decades. It’s likely the reason why your pizza took longer than usual to get delivered or why your flight may have been canceled.

And it’s also the reason why you’re probably going to have a tough time getting a friend or loved one into an assisted living facility or nursing home, and why you may be more concerned about a vulnerable family member currently residing in one.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, some 221,000 people have left the industry. That amounts to a 14% drop in employment, according to a report published by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, trade organizations that collectively represent some 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country.

Among all health-care sectors, nursing homes have lost the most jobs since before the pandemic, according to the report, which is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“As many caregivers are getting burned out by the pandemic, workers are leaving the field for jobs in other health-care settings or other industries altogether,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

Only 1% of nursing homes said they were fully staffed. While nearly 70% said they’re experiencing “high level staffing shortages.”

Limiting new admissions

That’s having significant ramifications.

A majority (58%) of nursing homes are limiting new admissions because they’re understaffed, according to an AHCA/NCAL September survey of more than 1,000 assisted living and nursing home providers.

Staffing shortages are less pronounced in assisted-living communities.

Some 4% said they’re fully staffed and some 40% said they’re having “high level staffing shortages.”

Nevertheless, some 78% of nursing homes and 61% of assisted living communities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close.

Across all industries in the U.S., quit rates are the highest they’re been in decades.

In September, some 4.4 million people quit their jobs, according to new data published Friday. By contrast, just half as many had quit during the early stages of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there are some 10.4 million job openings and 7.4 million people who are unemployed.

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