Hospital jobs inch back up

Hospital employment, which has been flat as of late, is continuing to experience modest increases, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment at U.S. hospitals increased 0.13 percent during the month of September--6,200 more jobs than August and 23,500 more jobs than in September 2013.

Altogether, the healthcare sector increased employment by 22,600 jobs during the last month, according to the BLS data. The niche with the biggest net gain was ambulatory care services, which added 14,200 to their payrolls, or more than half the total gains. Home healthcare services added another 6,800 jobs. Physician offices experienced a loss of 400 jobs, while nursing care facilities shed 1,000 positions.

The uptick of jobs has been a reversal of fortune for hospital hiring. Hospitals created no new jobs last year--its worst performance since the 1980s--even though the entire healthcare sector grew by more than 200,000 in total. And in December of last year, overall healthcare employment shrank by 6,000, marking the first time the sector as a whole experienced a decline in more than a decade.

The downward trend had been occurring even in the midst of the Affordable Care Act, which was expected to shrink the number of uninsured while causing revenue to rise at hospitals. However, that has been offset by the fact that about half the states declined to expand Medicaid eligibility, as well as other market forces that have torn at hospitals' bottom lines.

Although hospital hiring now is on the upswing, there has been a mixture of experiences across various healthcare markets. Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis, Tennessee, cut 114 jobs in September, WREG reported. But in Phoenix, hospital chain Banner Health represented the single largest number of hires in the region last month, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.

To learn more:
- here's the BLS data
- check out the WREG report
- read the Phoenix Business Journal article