Hospital job growth flattens

In an economy like this, even the brightest possible spots end up dulling. That's the case with hospital job growth, which until recently had been one of the few areas of the economy that continued to show some strength.

New Bureau of Labor Statistics show that hospital job growth has tailed off almost completely, creating less than 6,200 jobs nationwide during the first quarter of 2009. During the first three months of 2008, in contrast, the sector created 32,500 new jobs.

Slowed hiring is being driven by what you might expect, including falling patient volumes, lower rates of higher-margin elective procedures and lack of capital to expand into new service lines. Given this kind of first quarter, 2009 is not shaping up to be a good year. At this pace, experts note, less than 25,000 new hospital jobs will be created in 2009, as compared with 137,100 new hospital jobs in 2008 and 105,700 jobs in 2007, according to the BLS.

This news isn't much of a surprise, given a recent American Hospital Association survey noting that more than half of 1,000 hospitals surveyed were reporting layoffs this year.

To learn more from the survey:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece