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Hospital Employment Drop Continues

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2010

For the second straight month -- and the first time in more than 10 years -- the nation's hospitals shed more jobs than they created, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released Friday morning.

Hospitals reported 2,200 payroll reductions in June, following 2,400 reductions in May. The last time that the nation's hospitals reported back-to-back months of payroll reductions was in 2000, when 2,200 jobs were lost between January and April, BLS data and preliminary data show.

Overall, the economy lost 125,000 jobs in June, even as the nation's jobless rate edged down slightly to 9.5%. The decline in payroll employment reflected the loss of 225,000 temporary jobs from the U.S. Census Bureau, while private sector payrolls increased by 83,000, BLS said.

Job growth in the healthcare sector continues to be powered by ambulatory services, which accounted for 7,400 payroll additions in June, and 62,900 payroll additions in the first half of 2010. Nursing and residential care facilities reported 4,100 payroll additions, and physicians' offices reported 900 payroll reductions.

The healthcare sector has been one of the few areas of job growth during the recession and sputtering recovery, creating 96,000 new jobs in the first half of 2010, including11,300 jobs at hospitals. Healthcare created 228,700 jobs in 2009, and 618,700 jobs since the recession began in December 2007. For the past year, healthcare employment has grown by an average of 20,000 jobs a month, BLS figures show.

Overall, 14.6 million people were unemployed in the United States in June, and 6.8 million of them were long-term unemployed who'd been without a job for at least 27 weeks, BLS reports.

BLS information from May and June is considered preliminary and may be revised.

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