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The Health Care Employment Situation

Clive Riddle, September 2, 2011

With Labor Day upon us, I decided to click on over to the Department of Labor and see what was going on. As luck would have it, the DOL agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was issuing their monthly report: the Employment Situation, today, so I decided to check out The Situation myself.

Interestingly, health care was mentioned in the opening paragraph of the BLS Employment Situation news release: “Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged (0) in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in most major industries changed little over the month. Health care continued to add jobs, and a decline in information employment reflected a strike. Government employment continued to trend down, despite the return of workers from a partial government shutdown in Minnesota.”

A couple of paragraphs down, I learned “Health care employment rose by 30,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals added 18,000 and 8,000 jobs, respectively. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 306,000.”

So this month, while overall national employment was flat, health care added 30,000 jobs, and for the past year, health care has accounting for 24% of employment growth overall (1,259,000 jobs were added overall nationally during the past twelve months.)

Digging down into the detailed tables of the report, I compiled some numbers and learned that health care currently employs 14,127,500 and comprises 10.8% of total non-farm employment overall. Here’s how health care employment breaks down by their sub-categories:

  • Offices of physicians: 19.6%
  • Outpatient care centers: 5.1%
  • Home health care services: 9.4%
  • Hospitals: 39.4%
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: 26.5%
  • Offices of physicians: 19.6%Outpatient care centers: 5.1%Home health care services: 9.4%Hospitals: 39.4%Nursing and residential care facilities: 26.5%

These employment figures don’t account for health care’s overall employment impact, once you factor in vendors to the health care industry, health care insurance, medical schools, etc. For example, the report indicates Insurance Carriers employ 2,207,900 as of August, although health insurance is just a part of that.

Of course, while many of these health care employees will be working this weekend, here’s wishing a happy and safe labor day weekend for all.

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