Healthcare adds 23,000 workers as demand shifts

Hospitals employed a seasonally adjusted 4.8 million individuals last month, 3,600 more workers than in December, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While national unemployment rose one percentage point in January to 7.9 percent, the healthcare sector saw employment grow by roughly 23,000 jobs. Much of the gains in healthcare jobs came from ambulatory healthcare services, which employed a seasonally adjusted 6.4 million in January, up 27,600 from the month before.

But not seasonally adjusted, hospitals employed 8,600 fewer people than in December, noted AHA News Now.

Meanwhile, online labor demand for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations fell by 25,900 to 616,300 postings in January, according to research association Conference Board.

But healthcare employment will likely continue, even with efforts to cut costs, according to a New York Times opinion piece. With a drop in hospital jobs comes an uptick in other healthcare-related jobs, such as home health aides, the commentary noted.

Home healthcare services employed 1,300 more workers last month.

The NYT opinion piece echoes an editorial published in June in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two Harvard economists said the focus on healthcare jobs is "misguided" and should be left out of cost-control debate, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now brief
- here's the BLS data
- here's the Conference Board announcement
- read the NYT opinion piece