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Hospitals among nation's busiest hirers
March 10, 2016
The economy is improving slowly but surely these days, and that has brought more jobs to the national stage across a number of sectors. One of the big engines in this regard, though, has been the health care industry in general, and hospitals in particular. Altogether, they've accounted for the addition of hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide over a very short time period.
The number of health care jobs nationwide has risen to more than 15.3 million through the end of February, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. That number was down slightly from the almost 15.4 million at the end of last year, but constituted a significant year-over-year improvement of 3.2 percent, or about 479,600 jobs.
And in many ways, it was hospitals leading the way in terms of health care employment, with those facilities employing close to 5.02 million workers, second in the entire industry only to ambulatory health care services (more than 7 million). However, the rate at which both those portions of the health care industry hired was nearly neck-and-neck, at 3.7 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
Other data Moreover, it should be noted that there are far more ambulatory service companies in the U.S. (including standalone doctors' practices, outpatient centers, etc.) versus actual hospitals, the report said. In all, hospitals added about 179,300 jobs in the last year, versus 262,100 for all other ambulatory services.
In addition, it was home health care services (falling under the ambulatory umbrella) that actually increased the proportion of new jobs in its sector on an annual basis, the report said. That portion added 5.8 percent more jobs, boosting employment to more than 1.36 million, up from nearly 1.29 million. Further back of the leaders, at second and third in the industry, was 4.4 percent growth for offices of non-physician and non-dentist health practitioners, and 4.2 percent for outpatient care centers.
However, in terms of raw numbers, no portion of the health care industry could compete with the hiring power of hospitals, but physicians' offices came the closest, the report said. These private practices employed more than 2.57 million people nationwide through the end of February, up from nearly 2.5 million a year earlier, for a growth rate of 3.2 percent and approximately 79,400 added jobs.
What does this mean? The good news for the industry is that this growth has been steady over the last year, and that there doesn't seem to be much reason to doubt it should continue for some time to come. Studies routinely show that health care jobs are among the most lucrative and desirable in the country, and anecdotally those who have them tend to say their careers are fulfilling. That should serve to keep a steady flow of new workers into the industry, at hospitals or otherwise, in the long term.