Healthcare worker wearing mask looks out the window

Despite red-hot demand for workers, the healthcare industry shed 18,000 jobs in September, according to the latest employment survey by the U.S. Department of Labor. Healthcare services was a bright spot, adding 28,000 jobs. But those gains were offset by the loss of more than 45,000 jobs in nursing, residential care facilities and hospitals.

The disappointing jobs report comes as the healthcare and home healthcare industries are facing increased demand for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are losing workers due to burnout from the coronavirus and state vaccine mandates.

However, the report could help buttress support for increased funding for home-and-community-based services in the $3.5 trillion budget bill in Congress is currently debating. That legislation calls for billions of dollars to increase access to in-home services and higher wages for home care workers.

A recent analytics report from bond rating firm Moody’s said increased funding for HCBS would not only lift wages, but could also increase labor force participation. Nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute estimates the Biden administration’s proposed $400 billion investment in HCBS could add 1.1 million jobs a year over the next decade.

This article originally appeared on McKnights Home Care