Hospital Mass Layoffs Off Record Pace in 2010

John Commins, January 27, 2011

The nation's hospitals reported 137 mass layoffs of 50 or more employees in 2010, down 9.8% from the record 152 mass layoffs in 2009, but still significantly higher than any other year in the last decade, Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data shows.

Hospital mass layoffs appeared to be on a pace to match the 2009 record but layoffs tapered off in the fourth quarter of 2010, with six mass layoffs recorded in November, and three in December, BLS preliminary data shows.

In 2010, hospital layoffs resulted in 10,490 initial claims for unemployment benefits. In all of 2009, there were 11,787 initial claims for unemployment linked to hospital layoffs, BLS data shows.

Even with the layoffs, the nation's hospitals continue to be job creation machines, reporting 8,000 payroll additions in December, and 50,100 payroll additions in 2010. Those numbers, however,  are well off the pace of hospital job growth for most of the decade. After erratic hospital job growth in the first seven months of this year, hospitals saw five straight months of growing employment, and have added 31,900 jobs since August. Overall, BLS data shows,  hospitals employed more than 4.7 million people in 2010.

In the overall economy, BLS reports that employers imposed 1,483 mass layoffs involving 137,992 workers in December, 96 fewer mass layoffs than recorded in November. This figure reflects a 6% decrease and is the lowest reported level of mass layoffs since April 2008.

There were 19,564 mass layoffs in 2010 and the 1.8 million initial unemployment claims were lower than in 2009 when both events and claims reached their highest annual levels since layoffs among the 19 major industrial sectors began to be tracked in 1996, BLS reported.

View the BLS report here.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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