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Healthcare Job Growth Weak in 2013

By John Commins  
   January 13, 2014

Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2013, hospitals created the lowest total number of jobs since 2009.

The healthcare sector created 207,600 new jobs in 2013, considerably down from the 320,600 healthcare jobs created in 2012, but more in line with historical trends from the past five years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday.

A breakdown of BLS preliminary data for 2013 shows that hospitals created only 9,800 new jobs in 2013, well below the 73,300 jobs created in 2012 and the lowest total since 2009, when only 2,700 hospital jobs were created in the midst of a deep recession.

Ambulatory services continue to be the primary job creator for the healthcare sector, posting 180,100 new jobs in 2013. That's down from 208,400 jobs created in 2012.Nursing and residential homes created 17,700 in 2013, less than half of the 38,900 jobs created in 2012.

In December, the healthcare sector went out with a wimper in 2013, shedding 6,000 jobs for the month, led by 4,100 job reductions in ambulatory services and 2,400 reductions at hospitals.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, hospitals shed 500 jobs, BLS preliminary data shows. At the end of 2013, the healthcare sector accounted for 14.66 million jobs, including 6.6 million in ambulatory care, 4.83 million in hospitals, and 3.22 million in nursing and residential care.

BLS data for December and November is considered preliminary and subject to considerable revision.

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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