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Healthcare Job Growth Slows in October

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 7, 2011

The 70,100 new hospital jobs so far in 2011 are nearly three times more than the 23,400 new hospital jobs reported in the first 10 months of 2010. However, this year's explosive growth tapered somewhat in October with hospitals reporting 3,300 new jobs, a significant drop from the 13,300 new hospital jobs in September, BLS data show.

Ambulatory services—which in recent years have been the biggest job-growth source in the overall economy—also saw a significant slowdown in October. This sector, which includes physicians' offices, created 4,800 new jobs in October after reporting 26,000 new jobs in September and 18,100 new jobs in August. Ambulatory services have been responsible for 58% (155,200) of new jobs in healthcare so far in 2011. In the first 10 months of 2010, ambulatory services created 148,200 new jobs.

Physicians' offices alone have created 62,000 new jobs in the first 10 months of 2011, compared with 25,300 jobs created in that subsector for all of 2010. Physicians' offices created 8,200 jobs in October, after posting 12,200 new jobs in September. Physicians' offices created 23,100 new jobs in the first 10 months of 2010.

BLS data from September and October are preliminary and may be revised considerably in the coming months.

More than 14.1 million people worked in the healthcare sector in October, with more than 4.7 million of those jobs at hospitals, and more than 6.2 million jobs in ambulatory services, which includes more than 2.3 million jobs in physicians' offices.

In the larger economy, nonfarm job growth was up slightly in October, with 80,000 payroll additions reported. Overall, the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9%—its level since April—with 14 million people unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as people jobless for 27 weeks or longer, was 5.9 million in October, down from 6.3 million in September, and represented 42.4% of the unemployed.

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