Healthcare Job Growth Set Records in 2015

John Commins, January 12, 2016

Healthcare jobs accounted for 18% of the 2.6 million new jobs created in the United States in 2015. Coincidentally, healthcare spending represents nearly 18% of the nation's gross domestic product.

Hospital job growth exploded in 2015, with 172,200 payroll additions reported, a 306% increase over the 42,400 jobs created in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, the healthcare sector reported record job growth in 2015, with 474,700 jobs created, which represents a 53% increase over the 309,000 healthcare jobs created in 2014.

Ambulatory services continued to lead the way in terms of overall number of jobs created within the healthcare sector, with 258,000 new jobs in 2015, a healthy but relatively modest 12% increase over the 230,000 ambulatory services jobs created in 2014, BLS data show.

Healthcare jobs accounted for 18% of the 2.6 million new jobs created in the United States in 2015. Coincidentally, healthcare spending represents nearly 18% of the nation's gross domestic product.

Christopher DeCarlo, an economist with the BLS, says the job growth "is really not an overly complicated story. It's just supply and demand."

 

Slavitt

Peter Ubel

"What you would probably find is that the increased costs and increased labor costs are closely tied to wages and benefits," DeCarlo says. "Ultimately what you probably have is more people coming into the healthcare sector as a result of the higher wages and net growth, particularly with the increasing the number of retirees."

The healthcare sector now accounts for 15.3 million jobs, including seven million in ambulatory services, and nearly five million in hospitals.

Good News, Bad News
The growth in healthcare jobs presents a double-edged sword for a nation that already spends close to 20 cents of every dollar on healthcare, far more than any other advanced industrialized nation.

Peter Ubel, professor of business, public policy and medicine at Duke University, says whether the hiring trend is good news or bad is a matter of perspective.

"If you're in the healthcare industry it's good news, but for the rest of the country it's a little bit disturbing," Ubel says.

Healthcare jobs are created in virtually every part of the United States. These are generally well-paying jobs with salaries that percolate throughout the communities and regions served by physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers. At the same time, every dollar spent on healthcare is a dollar that can't be spent on other pressing needs.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Twitter icon