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Healthcare Job Growth Slows in March, but Q1 Strong

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2012

The healthcare sector created 26,000 jobs in March, a precipitous deceleration in growth when compared with the first two months of 2012, new federal data shows.

Even with the slowdown, healthcare job growth is outstripping the pace set in 2011. The sector created 101,800 jobs in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the 61,000 jobs created in the first three months of 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Healthcare remains a major job growth engine in the overall economy. In the first quarter of 2012, healthcare accounted for 16% of the 635,000 jobs created in the United States. March recorded 8,100 new jobs in hospitals, and 12,100 new jobs in ambulatory services, which included 7,600 jobs in physicians’ offices.
Dawn Murphy, senior vice president, human resources for Saint Luke’s Health System says the Kansas City, MO-based provider increased full-time equivalent staff by 6.59% in 2011. The system has 9,500 employees. That employment growth is continuing in 2012.   

"We have seen a growth in our employment because of two things. No. 1 we are seeing our volumes increase. Our newest hospital, which is St. Luke’s East, is on a new expansion and they’re hiring for that. We are building another unit on our newest hospital," Murphy says.

"And also as most health systems our size are doing we are integrating physician practices. We are hiring and when we bring on the physician practice we bring on the employees as well. So, our employee population is growing from organic growth and integration of physician practices," she says.

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