Hospitals have added about 134,000 jobs in the last 12 months, according to seasonally adjusted figures in the monthly labor report for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. August employment grew by 16,000 workers, following July’s increase of 5,000 workers.
The healthcare sector in total added 41,000 jobs in August. Of these, a little more than half were in ambulatory settings. Because of a long-term shift in the location of care, there are now almost seven million people working in ambulatory settings, versus just under five million working in hospitals. (National Center for Policy Analysis, Health Policy Blog, September 4, 2015)
Some analysts noted that continued hiring may indicate acceleration in spending. “Labor costs comprise a large share of health spending, so we should interpret this as another signal that the slowdown in growth of health spending that has been recently celebrated is fading into the rearview mirror.” (National Center for Policy Analysis, Health Policy Blog, September 4, 2015)
However, in August, analysts from the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization, noted that the reported acceleration in healthcare spending appears to be moderating. “National health spending in June 2015 was 5.7% higher than in June 2014, down from the 8-year high growth rate of 6.7% in the first quarter of 2015.” [emphasis added] (Health Spending Acceleration in 2015 is Moderating, Altarum Institute, August 2015)
Other key findings from the jobs figures include:
- Healthcare job growth in July reached 3 percent year over year for the first time since 2002.
- The 2.6 percent year-over-year growth rate for hospitals in July was the highest rate since May 2008.
- Healthcare prices in June were only 1.1 percent higher than in June 2014, the third consecutive month at that rate and barely higher than the decade-plus low of 1 percent that occurred in August 2013.
(“Hospital Job Surge Continues,” HFMA Weekly, September 11, 2015)
Consumerism: Strategic and Financial Implications, Part Two is in your library now. In this course, Mark Grube (Kaufman Hall), Marian Jennings (M. Jennings Consulting) and Nathan Kaufman (Kaufman Strategic Advisors) discuss organizational characteristics for a retail strategy, the financial implications and “must-do’s” for hospitals and systems. And coming up in late September, part one of Integrating Population Health into Your Strategic and Financial Plans.
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