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Hospital Job Growth Continues Despite Record Pace of Layoffs

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 8, 2010

Despite a projected record level hospital layoffs by the end of 2010, the sector reported 2,900 payroll additions in September, and 28,200 payroll additions so far this year, a rate of job creation that is more than double that for the same period in 2009, preliminary data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

Hospitals added 7,000 jobs in August—the largest single month of job growth for the sector in 2010—shed 1,400 jobs in July, added 5,700 jobs in June, and shed 1,900 jobs in May, after creating 15,900 jobs in the first four months of the year.

BLS data from August and September is considered preliminary and may be considerably revised in the coming months.

Hospitals have reported 28,200 payroll additions in the first nine months of 2010, compared with 12,100 payroll additions in the first nine months of 2009. The sector reported 86,200 payroll additions in the first nine months of 2008. Hospitals last reported sustained payroll reductions in 2000, when 2,200 jobs were lost between January and April, BLS data and preliminary data show.

The job growth comes even as hospitals mass layoffs of 50 or more employees are projecting to hit a new record for the year. BLS data show that there have been 102 mass layoffs resulting in 8,233 initial unemployment claims in the first eight months of 2010. The 2010 layoffs are on a pace to slightly surpass the record set in 2009, when hospitals reported 152 mass layoffs resulting in 11,787 initial unemployment claims.

The overall economy lost 95,000 jobs in September, as the nation's jobless rate held at 9.6%. The decline in payroll employment reflected the loss of 159,000 temporary jobs from the U.S. Census Bureau, while private sector payrolls increased by 64,000, BLS preliminary data show.