Healthcare hiring slows to a virtual halt

The July job market for healthcare was relatively bleak: It expanded by just 2,500 jobs--the lowest increase in a decade, reported AHA News Now. Hospitals now are actually cutting positions.

Citing data from the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending, hospitals have shed 13,000 jobs over the past quarter, including 4,400 in July, AHA News Now reported. Moreover, data revisions for the month of June eliminated most of the gains for that month, according to Altarum. Bureau of Labor Statistics data report that hospitals added only 400 jobs to the payrolls in June, according to the Advisory Board.

Healthcare employment had been adding an average of 22,000 healthcare jobs a month for the past two years, according to Altarum data.

"This jibes with reports of unexpectedly low hospital utilization rates and belt tightening in anticipation of very low Medicare payment rate increases. We will be watching hospital jobs closely in the next couple of months to see if this is the start of a longer term trend," said Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center, in a press release.

Meanwhile, healthcare jobs represent about 10.71 percent of the total jobs in the economy, just below its all-time high of 10.73 percent.

Hospitals may be cutting positions due to two factors: Mergers among various hospital operators that have led to elimination of duplicate positions, and shifts in care delivery patterns where patients are seeking more care in non-hospital settings, the Advisory Board reported.

To learn more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- check out the Advisory Board blog post
- here's the Altarum press release
- read the Altarum jobs report (.pdf)