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Healthcare Hiring Strong Despite Looming Sequester Cuts

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 11, 2013

Smith noted that 700,000 jobs are projected to be lost across the economy between March 2013 and December 2014 due to sequestration, but that only 4% or 28,000 of those lost jobs will be in the healthcare sector.

"This is disproportionately low as healthcare represents 13% of all jobs today and 18 cents of every dollar spent," Smith says. "The bottom line is, look out for a slowdown in growth over the next few months, but much like the last five years, healthcare is still a good bet."

While the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts went into effect on March 1, providers generally won't start feeling them until April 1. In the meantime, lobbyists and professional associations from virtually every corner of the healthcare sector have called upon President Obama and Congress to reach a consensus on a budget deal to avert the cuts.

As in previous years, the surge in healthcare hiring in January and February could be more a function of timing for healthcare providers using calendar year budgets.

Generally, these budgets and their accompanying staffing requests are approved by December, and the hiring and on-boarding processes commences in January. In January and February 2012, for example, the healthcare sector created 64,600 jobs. For the remaining 10 months, healthcare created an average of 23,240 new positions each month.

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