As Hospital Hiring Slips, Robot Workers Lurk

Chelsea Rice, June 10, 2013

In the news this week: Healthcare job growth hits a skid; Robots are programmed for direct patient care jobs; Tennessee strengthens laws to protect nurses and physicians from workplace violence.

Economists have predicted that the pain of federal sequestration cuts would be felt throughout the year. Halfway through the year, the May jobs report landed like a punch.

Released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs report shows a significant dip in the usually robust hospital sector. Hospitals, which have averaged 5,600 new monthly jobs since January 2013, reversed the trend in May. Although hospitals are continuing to create jobs, the numbers have dropped significantly:

The government's healthcare cost reduction focus is having an effect on jobs:

  • Ambulatory care services (making up for hospitals' slowdown in job creation) created 15,300 additional jobs, more than 12% increase since last month.
  • Outpatient care services grew almost four times as quickly in May than April, creating 3,500 additional jobs.
  • Physician's offices created 13% less jobs.
  • Home health care services stayed approximately the same since April.
  • Nursing and residential care services also slowed down, by 52% since last month. 
  • Healthcare as a whole added 11,000 additional jobs from April to May.
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