May health­care job growth is half of 12-month aver­age

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - — Ashok Sel­vam

Growth in health­care jobs slowed to lev­els not seen since Jan­uary, pri­mar­ily be­cause hos­pi­tals shed 5,900 jobs for the month, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary, sea­son­ally ad­justed fig­ures re­leased Fri­day by the U.S. Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics. Health­care over­all added 10,700 jobs in May, less than half the 12-month aver­age of about 24,000 a month. Mean­while, the govern­ment re­vised last month’s fig­ures for health­care, show­ing that the sec­tor added more than 5,000 jobs on top of the fig­ure pre­vi­ously re­ported for April. Over­all non­farm em­ploy­ment in­creased by 175,000 jobs in May. The un­em­ploy­ment rate, how­ever, rose to 7.6% from 7.5% as more peo­ple looked for work, ac­cord­ing to the BLS. While hos­pi­tals had a down month, out­pa­tient care cen­ters and home health­care con­tin­ued to make up for the de­cline. Home health­care en­joyed its big­gest month of the year, adding 12,900 jobs. Don’t ex­pect a down­ward spi­ral in hos­pi­tal jobs, said Mark Smith, pres­i­dent of physi­cian search and con­sult­ing firm Mer­ritt Hawkins & As­so­ciates, a di­vi­sion of AMN Health­care. Hos­pi­tals have added 48,800 jobs since May 2012. “It gets your at­ten­tion when you see a drop of 6K, but you also for­get how much the sec­tor has grown in the past year,” Smith said. Job re­duc­tions as­so­ci­ated with hos­pi­tal con­sol­i­da­tion could be one rea­son for the sud­den drop, he said—those deals come with the prom­ise of elim­i­nat­ing re­dun­dan­cies. An­other rea­son could be the in­crease in out­pa­tient care and a shift of hos­pi­tal re­sources to other set­tings, he said.

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