Healthcare Jobs Report Creates Clashing Narratives

John Commins, January 13, 2014

Tighter margins, industry consolidation, and uncertainty surrounding healthcare reform, are tamping down healthcare hiring. "Everyone is afraid of what will happen and is too scared to hire," says one healthcare economist.

We're getting conflicting narratives about healthcare job growth.

The story line we've heard for the last decade or so tells us that healthcare is an excellent job growth market, particularly for people with advanced degrees and specialties.

That narrative has been backed up by consistent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has shown that the healthcare sector is one of the more robust job growth engines for the overall economy. In the last decade, for example, BLS data shows that the now-$2.8 trillion healthcare sector created more than 2.7 million jobs, with most of those new jobs in ambulatory services.

Until recently, there's been some sort of unsubstantiated belief that healthcare was immune from the growing pains and economic downturns of other industries. There was also a consensus belief was that healthcare reform and the expansion of health insurance coverage through commercial exchanges and Medicaid would only increase the demand for skilled healthcare workers, particularly clinicians and information technology experts.

While the immunity theory has pretty much been debunked, in some respects it still holds true that skilled clinicians will continue to be in demand.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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