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Healthcare Job Growth Continues at Tepid Pace

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 23, 2013

Despite the lukewarm climate for overall employment, healthcare job growth figures have yet to reflect any slowing demand for physicians, clinicians, and executives. Merritt Hawkins saw its physician and advanced practice recruiting assignments increase by 14% from 2012 to 2013.

Healthcare job growth held its tepid pace in September as hospitals and other providers dial back on new hires in the face of lower reimbursements, industry consolidation, the healthcare reform rollout, and myriad bottom line pressures.

Bureau of Labor Statistics job growth data for September was released on Tuesday after a two-week delayed caused by the government partial shutdown. It showed that the healthcare sector created 6,800 jobs for the month, compared with 36,600 new jobs created by the sector in September 2012. So far this year, healthcare has created 166,800 new jobs, down from the 226,400 new jobs created in the first nine months of 2012.

Travis Singleton, senior vice president at Merritt Hawkins, the Irving, TX-based physician recruiters, says nobody who's been paying attention should be surprised by the latest BLS figures.

"What you are seeing is simple action-reaction," Singleton says. "I don't mean to over simplify it, but if you cut reimbursements, you increase potential penalties that have already been and will be levied on these hospitals in the future you are going to see people react and that is through right-sizing."

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