Healthcare employment up, but physician recruitment still tough

Healthcare is still one bright spot in the job market. Although the unemployment rate remains steady at 7.8 percent, healthcare--along with food services, construction and manufacturing--saw increased employment in December 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Out of the 44,500 additional healthcare jobs, hospitals added 11,700 jobs last month. Ambulatory healthcare services added 23,000, and physician offices added 6,800.

This past December, hospitals employed 4,868,700 people, which is 93,000 more than a year ago, AHA News Now reported. Overall healthcare employment in 2012 rose by 338,000 jobs.

At the same time, recruiters say hospitals are having a harder time filling positions, American Medical News reported. According to recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins in Irving, Texas, 63 percent of physician searches between April 2011 and March 2012 were for hospitals, up from 56 percent the prior year.

"Demand is up, but the number of doctors is down," Phil Miller, a spokesman for Merritt Hawkins, told amednews.

With healthcare reform challenging providers to rethink care delivery, many experts wonder how hospitals can thrive.

"If traditional clinical environments are no longer necessary for many healthcare needs, what else could the hospital be?" Rachel Maguire, healthcare research director of the Institute for the Future, told California Healthline. The hospital of the future won't only be a place to care for the sick but rather a place of community wellness, she noted.

For more information:
- see the BLS announcement and data
- check out the AHA News Now brief
- here's the amednews article
- read the California Healthline article

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