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Healthcare Job Postings Outnumber Seekers

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2011

Online job ads for healthcare practitioners, technical workers, and support staff made slight gains in March, regaining some of the ground lost in February but well below the surge in job postings for the healthcare sector in January, according The Conference Board Help Wanted Online report.

Labor demand for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations grew by 3,700 in March to 603,800. Healthcare support positions posted 4,400 new listings to 143,500 in March, with the primary demand coming for physical therapist assistants, home health aides, nursing aides, and medical assistants, The Conference Board reports.

The board's Help Wanted Online Data Series tracks more than 1,000 online job boards across the United States.

In January, The Conference Board reported 78,500 new listings for healthcare practitioners and technicians, and 16,600 new ads for healthcare support jobs, as healthcare jobs led a strong first month of 2011. However, February saw online job ads for practitioners and technical occupations drop by 4,300 owing largely to decreases in advertised vacancies for registered nurses and occupational and physical therapists, while support positions posted a decrease of 4,200.

Even with March's tepid growth in job postings, there were three job listings for every healthcare technician and practitioner job seeker, with the average salary of $33.51 an hour. Conversely, there were two healthcare support workers for every online job listing, with pay averaging $12.84 an hour, The Conference Board reports.

In the overall economy, online advertised vacancies rose 208,800 in March to 4.4 million, which brought the gain in labor demand for the first quarter of 2011 to more than 600,000. The biggest areas of job listing growth were in office administrative (35,800 new online posts), sales (28,300), and food preparation and serving (20,900).

"Thus far in 2011, labor demand is looking strong," says June Shelp, vice president at The Conference Board. "In the first quarter of 2011, the monthly increase in advertised vacancies has averaged about 200,000/month. That's good news after the overall anemic growth in labor demand over the last 11 months of 2010. In March, almost half of the advertised vacancies were new ads that were not there the previous month (new ads up 98,200). This is a further positive sign that employers are continuing to look for workers."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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