Economist: 2013 a 'Banner Year' for Healthcare Jobs

Chelsea Rice, January 7, 2013

Healthcare hiring is accelerating at a striking rate: 60-80% faster than the rest of the economy.  And it's not just physicians and nurses that are in high demand.

In the overall economy, jobs grew at an annual growth rate of 1.4% in 2012, according to the December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In the healthcare sector, jobs grew at a comparatively blazing pace of 2.4%.

And while hospital and health system CFOs are bearish on the overall financial picture for the new year, at least one healthcare economist expects the decades-long positive record for job creation in healthcare to continue into 2013, as healthcare reform implementation continues to roll out.

"[The year] 2013, I believe, will be a banner year compared to recent years because of the anticipation and current expansion of insurance coverage," says Randall P. Ellis, a professor of economics at Boston University. "As we come out of the recession, and as more people have incomes and earnings go up, then we will be more inclined to visit the doctor and go to the hospital."

While the national economy is recovering and spending is rebounding, unemployment remains  steady at 7.8%, the level it has held since September.

But "healthcare employment just keeps chugging along, creating a disproportionately large fraction of the jobs," says Mark. V. Pauly, PhD, a professor of healthcare management and economics at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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