Hiring in Ambulatory Clinics Back on Track in November; Other Health Jobs Lagging

Last Friday’s employment report caused some joy in the land: 321,000 jobs were added in November. My Forbes colleague Bruce Japsen cheered an “Obamacare jobs bump” in health services. If true, this would be an example of Bastiat’s broken-window fallacy: Broken windows create employment for glaziers, so the government should encourage breaking windows.

Similarly, Obamacare “broke” health care. So, we cannot be sure if jobs added in health care are adding value to society, or just a response to Obamacare’s making health care even more inefficient than it was.

However, there was no Obamacare jobs boom in November. As shown in Table 1 and Table 2, jobs in health care increased by 0.19 percent from October. Non-health nonfarm civilian jobs increased 0.23 percent. So, healthcare jobs increased at a marginally slower rate than other jobs.



However, ambulatory hiring resumed its torrid pace, after a lull in October, when hiring in outpatient clinics froze. In November, it was nursing and residential care facilities which froze hiring, while hospital hiring increased only 0.09 percent.

We continue to see a significant transfer of employment in health services from inpatient institutions to ambulatory facilities. Hopefully, this is a positive change.

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