Pandemic slams healthcare jobs

The plunge in payrolls in April, the steepest since the Great Depression, hurt workers in the restaurant, retail and entertainment industries the most, but it also slammed what once was a consistent generator of jobs: healthcare.

Nearly one-and-a-half million jobs in that sector were wiped out.

More than 500,000 people working in dentists' offices and over 240,000 in doctors' offices got laid off. Many of those offices were shut as elective procedures were canceled to help manage the surge of patients from the pandemic and many Americans avoided visiting doctors and hospitals.

S&P Global senior economist Satyam Panday says the job losses were widespread across the economy.

"About 95 percent of the industries lost jobs. There was only five percent that actually added. And you can think of the jobs that we had added in the last ten years are all gone. Just like that."

The massive wave of layoffs that began in mid-March has also widened some of the disparities in the workforce.

The unemployment rate of Latinos jumped nearly 13 percentage points, possibly because many of them were employed in the hard-hit hospitality industry.

And the scars were deep for Americans who lack a high school diploma. Roughly one in five of them were jobless, compared to 1 in 12 for those holding college degrees.

Several states have begun to re-open their economies, but Panday says don't expect a quick rebound.

"Consumers that are, you know, for example, going to a restaurant or to other places, you know, they will think twice, right? So, you won't have as much of a demand either till this virus issue is actually completely taken care of in either through a vaccine or some some other form of therapy."

The latest set of gloomy numbers bolsters analysts' expectations of a slow recovery from the recession.