Job Growth Continues for Healthcare Sector

John Commins, December 6, 2010

While the nation's unemployment rate has increased to 9.8 percent, hospitals reported 8,000 payroll additions in November and 42,200 payroll additions so far this year. The growth in hospital jobs is nearly double the 21,700 jobs created in the first 11 months of 2009, but is still well off the pace of hospital job growth for most of the decade, data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

After erratic hospital job growth in the first seven months of this year, hospitals have seen four straight months of growing employment, and have added 23,900 jobs since August. Overall, hospitals employed more than 4.7 million people in November.

BLS data from October and November is preliminary and may be considerably revised in the coming months.

The job growth comes even as hospitals “mass layoffs” affecting 50 or more employees are keeping pace with the record 152 mass layoffs set in 2009. BLS data show that the nation's hospitals reported 16 mass layoffs in October —the latest figures available.

Hospitals shed 1,900 jobs in July, added 5,700 jobs in June, and shed 1,400 jobs in May, after creating 15,900 jobs in the first four months of the year. The sector reported 98,800 payroll additions in the first 11 months of 2008. 

The healthcare sector—everything from hospitals, to chiropractors' offices, blood and organ donor banks, to walk-in clinics—added 19,200 jobs in November, and employed 13.8 million people that month. Healthcare has been one of the few areas of steady job growth during the recession and sputtering recovery, creating an average of 20,880 jobs each month, and 229,700 jobs in the first 11 months of 2010.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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