Report: Hospitals, practices expand staff in December

Hospitals and physician offices saw a slight increase in hiring during December, according to new data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the BLS, hospitals added about 9,700 workers in December, an increase of 0.2 percent, bringing that total to 4.59 million employees. Physician offices hired 3,800 employees in December, which also constitutes an 0.2 percent increase, bringing the total employment rolls to 2.26 million.

While month-to-month fluctuations of less than one percent may not be that interesting, what's more noteworthy is that hiring was up more meaningfully for all of 2007 for both sectors. For the year, hospitals added 115,000 to payrolls, a 2.6 percent gain, and the largest since the year ending January 2002. Meanwhile, doctors' offices added 74,2000 workers, a 3.4 percent increase in positions.

The question the BLS stats doesn't answer is whether the hires were painful (just digging in to keep the operation moving) or in support of new revenue (i.e. staff physicians or nurse practitioners, for example, who can bring more patients in the door). There's definitely more to know here.

To find out more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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