A new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows a 379,000 job increase nationwide, but BYU-Idaho students have mixed feelings on finding local employment.
The BLS report from March shows many employment sectors are making a comeback from their April 2020 lows. The healthcare and social assistance industry gained 49,000 jobs in February, but not all sectors made positive gains. While out-of-hospital care added 29,000 jobs, nursing care facilities lost 12,000 positions.
Idaho also showed modest gains at the start of the year, gaining 4,500 jobs. The state’s Department of Labor published a report showing that Idaho’s six healthcare sectors gained a total of 300 jobs in the first month of the new year.
While the BLS report has positive indications, the future for Idaho healthcare workers isn’t clear. A joint report by the Idaho Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the Education and Health Services sector and the Health Care and Social Assistance sector will lose a combined 3,700 positions in the next year.
Due to fluctuating prospects and statistics, some BYU-I students are still skeptical about their chances of landing a job in Eastern Idaho post-graduation. This is concerning students after four years worth of education and hard work. Will it all be for nothing?
“I think if you are trying to find a job … here in Rexburg or in small towns, it’s harder because there’s so many people, and most of the jobs are already filled,” said Mahayla Mower, a freshman studying exercise physiology.
Mower suggested the large population of healthcare students overshadows the relatively small number of jobs available in the region.
“I feel like it would be easier to go somewhere that is a lot bigger,” Mower said. “Places like California, where I feel like it would be easier to find a job.”
However, a recent job report from California’s Employment Development Department shows their healthcare job prospects. Health and Education took a 10,000 job loss from December to January, the second-largest loss among the listed industries.
On the other hand, Idaho stayed close to its December mark. While some may doubt these numbers are good for their prospects, other students in Rexburg are optimistic about their chances of finding a local job.
“I feel like you have to start somewhere — like you’re not going to get the top of the line, best job ever by just applying,” said Sarah Hutchings, a sophomore studying public health. “I feel like you have to start kind of at the bottom and work your way up.”
For Hutchings, Idaho is a great place for students looking to get their start in the healthcare industry. Students like her not only see starter jobs, but lifelong careers, and there are numbers to support their optimism.
In October, the Idaho Center for Nursing reported that the state will want registered nurses in the coming years. The Gem State can expect a shortage of 106–523 registered nurses annually and is expected to remain in short supply until 2024.
With seemingly conflicting information, predicting the job market proves difficult, and local students may continue to wonder if they will have to move away.
Relocation or not, both Hutchings and Mower agree their effort will be rewarded in the end. If the ICN’s findings hold true, BYU-I nursing graduates may be able to find jobs for years to come.
“It can be very rewarding just because you get to see so many people’s lives change, and you get to be around them a lot and they become like your second family,” Mower said. “It’s a blessing to be able to work with so many people and the people that you work with become your family.”