Healthcare hiring momentum continues to build

Hospital hiring, which stayed mostly stagnant for several years as part of the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, has blossomed back to life over the past year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Altarum Health Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending.

The BLS data indicated hospitals added a seasonally adjusted 4,300 jobs in November compared to October, and 28,500 more jobs than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, the numbers rise to 9,000 more jobs month over month and 32,000 more jobs from November 2013.

The entire healthcare sector is in a mini-hiring boom, having added 28,900 jobs month over month and more than 261,000 jobs over the past year. Physician offices were doing the most month-over-month hiring, adding 6,600 positions from October to November, while home healthcare added 5,000 jobs. Nursing care facilities were the only group in the red, cutting 1,300 jobs between October and November and 700 jobs since November 2013.

The Altarum Institute is expected to release its own jobs report later this week, but its October data was fairly encouraging, noting that the healthcare sector added 24,500 jobs during that month.

The uptick in hiring is a stark contrast to 2013, when no new hospital jobs were added at all, and the entire healthcare sector added 204,000 jobs for the entire calendar year.

Altarum has noted healthcare prices in September 2014 were only 1.7 percent higher than in September 2013, and have increased only 14.9 percent since the start of the Great Recession exactly seven years ago. Meanwhile, total spending on healthcare services rose 4.7 percent from September 2013 and September 2014.

"The higher growth rate for healthcare jobs has continued into October ... and we will learn, with the release of (Census Bureau quarterly survey) in mid-December, whether the faster pace in hiring accords with an uptick in third quarter spending on healthcare services," said Altarum Director Charles Roehrig in a statement.

To learn more:
- check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics data
- here's the Altarum Institute statement