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Snapshot of unemployed pharmacists from the 2019 National Pharmacy Workforce Survey. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2021;61(5):e90-e95



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85108656464 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


BACKGROUND: Prior national surveys have quantified unemployment in the pharmacy workforce, and recent surveys have occurred in a changing environment, with increased numbers of pharmacists in the labor market.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to investigate the rate of unemployment and situations of unemployed pharmacists.

METHODS: Data from the 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey were analyzed, focusing on an initial question about employment status and follow-up questions for unemployed respondents about whether they were seeking a job, the reason they were unemployed, and how long they had been unemployed.

RESULTS: Overall, 4.4% of the respondents were unemployed, with higher rates occurring for female pharmacists, older pharmacist cohorts, and respondents of color, with the highest rate occurring (9.3%) for Black pharmacists. Most (74.4%) of the unemployed pharmacists were seeking a job in pharmacy, but 16.6% were not seeking any job. Nearly two-thirds of the unemployed pharmacist respondents had left the workforce involuntarily, with men at higher rates than women. The youngest cohort of unemployed pharmacists was the least likely to be forced to leave and more likely to leave for workplace-related or personal reasons. Black pharmacists had the overall highest rate of leaving the workforce involuntarily. On average, the unemployed pharmacists had been out of work nearly 2 years (19.2 months), and the periods out of work ranged widely. Those seeking a job in pharmacy predominantly (75.7%) had been unemployed for 1 year or less. More than half of the pharmacists involuntarily unemployed had been unemployed for 6 months or less.

CONCLUSION: An increased rate of unemployment and a higher proportion of those unemployed seeking work occurred in this most recent national survey of the pharmacist workforce. Differences in the extent of unemployment and whether leaving the workforce was voluntary or involuntary occurred in pharmacists of color and in some age cohorts.

Author List

Kreling DH, Gaither CA, Schommer JC, Doucette WR, Witry MJ, Arya V, Bakken BK, Mott DA


Brianne K. Bakken PharmD Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy Administration department at Medical College of Wisconsin

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