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Hospital Compensation Growth Falls in Line with Larger Economy

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2010

The quarterly costs to hospitals for growth in wages, salaries, and total compensation has steadily declined over the past decade and now is roughly the same as the wage, salary, and total compensation growth for all workers in the overall economy, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, BLS data shows that the cost increases to hospitals for wages and salary growth were 5.7% higher than they were in the fourth quarter of 2000. The cost of wages and salaries for all workers in the larger economy was 3.7% higher in the fourth quarter of 2001, than it was in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Since the fourth quarter of 2001, however, hospitals and the larger economy have seen the cost of growth in wages, salary and total compensation decline steadily. In the first three quarters of 2010, hospital wage and salary costs grew about 1.6%, when compared with the first three quarters in 2009, while wages and salary costs for all workers increased about 1.5% for the same period.

BLS does not provide a further breakdown of hospital wage and salary earners, who presumably could range from CEOs to environmental staff. Nor does BLS provide a monetary average or value to the cost growth data. 

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