Did Healthcare Employment Decline in 2013?

Although the healthcare sector continued to create jobs throughout the recession, the industry encountered significant drops in employment throughout 2013. In December 2013 alone, 6,000 jobs were lost from the healthcare industry, with substantial payroll decreases among hospitals and ambulatory care.

According to new research released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the recent decline in healthcare employment capped off a year where the amount of healthcare-related jobs added was far below average. In 2013, the healthcare sector brought on 271,000 more jobs, resulting in an overall industry total of 14.57 million. Additionally, hiring rates dropped about 2 percent below the annual average since 1990.

Aside from the demise in healthcare employment, the U.S. economy only added on 74,000 jobs throughout last year. Meanwhile, unemployment rates were directly impacted by job seekers choosing to withdraw from the workforce. As a result, unemployment dropped to a five-year low of 6.7 percent.

In 2013, hiring trends varied across healthcare sectors. Although job growth was down among nursing homes and hospitals, hiring rates within ambulatory care remained promising in spite of December’s decline.

Regardless, hiring rates stayed sluggish for both hospitals and nursing homes last year. Throughout 2013, hospitals added 40,000 jobs. However, this number reflected a 30 percent decrease from the annual average since 1990, which amounted to 57,300. Nursing and residential homes also encountered a significant decline in employment from the annual average. The sector added on 24,600 employees last year, which reflected a 40 percent drop from the annual average of 43,200.

Conversely, hiring rates among the ambulatory care sector were on the rise last year, and were up by nearly 30 percent. In comparison to the annual average of 160,100 since 1990, the sector added 270,000 jobs throughout 2013. In addition to doctors’ offices and home health agencies, the ambulatory care sector encompasses a wide range of settings, ranging from dental offices and chiropractors to diagnostic laboratories.

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