Hospitals continue to grow payrolls

Hospitals are continuing to hire staff, adding 7,000 new jobs to their ranks during the month of December, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Hospital payrolls inched up 0.14 percent, to a seasonally adjusted total of 4.84 million, BLS reported. Altogether, hospitals added 47,300 jobs compared to December 2013. Without the adjustment, the number of jobs added increased by 10,600 from November and 49,800 from a year ago.

The hospital numbers closed out an encouraging year for the healthcare workforce. The healthcare sector added 34,000 jobs in December, and every category added to its ranks of laborers, according to the BLS:

  • Ambulatory healthcare services added 16,200 jobs
  • Nursing care and residential care facilities added 12,100 jobs
  • Home healthcare services added 4,200 jobs
  • Outpatient centers added 3,800 jobs
  • Physician offices added 800 jobs 

Altogether, the healthcare sector added an average of 26,000 jobs per month in 2014, compared to 17,000 per month in 2013--an increase of nearly 53 percent, according to a BLS announcement.

The jobs production comes after the healthcare sector and hospitals in particular had been struggling to create new positions. In 2013, for example, hospitals did not create any new jobs.

For a time, there appeared to be a serious chasm between job production in states where Medicaid eligibility was expanded versus states that declined to participate in the expansion.

But Ani Turner of the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending observed that that gap had been narrowed starting last spring. Non-expansion states added healthcare jobs at a rate of 15,100 per month between April and October of last year, compared to 7,400 per month in the 12 months prior, according to Altarum. Expansion states added 21,100 per month between April and October last year, compared to 14,500 in the 12 months prior.

To learn more:
- read the BLS data
- check out the BLS announcement
- read the Altarum article