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Growth and Opportunity: The Healthcare Sector, Examined

HealthLeaders Media Staff, December 13, 2010
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“In this slow economic recovery, the October rise is welcome news that the trend in labor demand continues to move in a positive direction, albeit at a very moderate pace,” said June Shelp, vice president at the Conference Board. “The October increase reflected a moderate rise in a range of occupations and geographically across the nation. The slow but steady upward trend of the last seven months points to modest growth in employment through the end of 2010.”

Shelp said online job postings across all sectors of the economy have increased by 1 million advertised vacancies since the end of the recession in June 2009. “Following the rapid HWOL [help wanted online] rises in labor demand in the fourth quarter 2009 and first quarter 2010, labor demand has now settled into more modest growth, pointing to a moderate growth in employment through the end of 2010,” she said.

In addition to the high demand for healthcare practitioners and technical workers, the Conference Board also reported high demand for management and computer and mathematical science workers.

Reported by John Commins on November 2.

Hospital compensation growth falls in line with larger economy

The quarterly costs to hospitals for growth in wages, salaries, and total compensation has steadily declined over the past decade and now is roughly the same as the wage, salary, and total compensation growth for all workers in the overall economy, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, BLS data shows that the cost increases to hospitals for wages and salary growth were 5.7% higher than they were in the fourth quarter of 2000. The cost of wages and salaries for all workers in the larger economy was 3.7% higher in the fourth quarter of 2001 than it was in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Since the fourth quarter of 2001, however, hospitals and the larger economy have seen the cost of growth in wages, salary, and total compensation decline steadily. In the first three quarters of 2010, hospital wage and salary costs grew about 1.6% when compared with the first three quarters in 2009, while wages and salary costs for all workers increased about 1.5% for the same period.

The growth in total compensation for hospital workers and all workers—which includes wages, salaries, health insurance, pension plans, and other perks—has followed a similar downward trend since the fourth quarter of 2001, according to BLS data.

Total compensation for employees cost hospitals 6% more in the fourth quarter of 2001 than it did in the fourth quarter of 2000, while total compensation costs for all workers in the larger economy was 4.2% higher in 2001, according to the BLS.

During the first three quarters of 2010, however, the growth of hospitals’ total compensation costs for employees had slowed to 2.1% when compared with the first three quarters of 2009, and about 1.8% for all workers for the same three quarters.

Reported by John Commins on November 1.        

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