Mass layoffs at hospitals double

Hospitals had double the amount of mass layoffs in May, compared to the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May, the hospital industry saw 11 mass layoff events (defined as 50 or more workers from one organization) up from five in April. Ambulatory healthcare services, including physician offices and home health services, saw four mass layoffs in May, compared to five in April. 

Even though month-over-month data suggest bad news for hospital employees, employment in other sectors may be harder hit. Across all sectors, industries took 1,380 mass layoff actions involving 130,191 workers, BLS said. Year-over-year, unemployment in healthcare and social assistance remained steady with 95 layoffs in May 2012, compared to 102 in May 2011, according to BLS data.

Labor demand for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, however, rose in June, according to research association Conference Board. Jobs in the sector rose 28,800 to 615,800 last month, largely due to advertised vacancies for nurses and physical therapists. In the South, nurses are particularly in high demand, with increased online job postings in Texas and Florida.

The number of advertised vacancies in this category still is favorable with demand outnumbering job-seekers by two to one.

However, The Conference Board Vice President June Shelp noted, "Labor demand is only half of the story. You also have to look at the number of unemployed seeking jobs in these occupations. For example, the increased number of online advertised vacancies in all categories made the search for jobs easier, but looking for work was still a struggle for many job-seekers."  

For more information:
- see the BLS hospital data and ambulatory data
- here's the mass layoff data across industries and data for hospitals
- here's the Conference Board statement

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