One in Four Jobs Added Last Month was in Health Care

The healthcare¬†jobs boom continues. This morning’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 142,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted) were added to non-farm civilian payrolls in August. 34,000 of those (24 percent) were in health care.

Furthermore, continuing the trend we’ve seen for months now, almost all that growth was in ambulatory settings, where 22,800 jobs were added, versus only 7,100 in hospitals and 4,100 in nursing and residential care facilities.

Since August 2013, job growth in outpatient services has increased by 3 percent, whereas job growth in hospitals and nursing and residential care is stalled.

With respect to pay and hours worked, the report bundles health care with education, so it is difficult to interpret the quality of jobs in health care alone. Nevertheless, both estimates were stable, suggesting that these jobs in outpatient services are good ones. Further, the move towards delivering more care in outpatient settings, instead of hospitals with their high fixed costs is probably a positive sign.

What is also interesting is that there are now 6.7 million jobs in outpatient settings, versus only 4.8 million in hospitals. Yet, hospitals seem more successful at making the case that they are engines of local economic development and any attempt by Medicaid or Medicare to introduce reforms that might jeopardize their high-cost structures is a threat to jobs.

Given where we are actually seeing job growth in health care, that argument should be significantly weaker than it used to be.

Comments (6)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    As health care spending expands to consume nearly all of our GPD, 50 years from now we’ll all be living and working at the hospital! I will be living there because I’ll be old and infirm. The youngsters will be living there taking care of me. The only non-medical sectors of the economy will be government — which will continue to mandate more medical spending.

    • John R. Graham says:

      Hopefully, Uber and Lyft will still be around to drive us from hospital to pharmacy to doctor’s office to physiotherapist, et cetera.

  2. Perry says:

    “Yet, hospitals seem more successful at making the case that they are engines of local economic development and any attempt by Medicaid or Medicare to introduce reforms that might jeopardize their high-cost structures is a threat to jobs.”

    Yes, hospitals are going to try to hang on to their share of the healthcare market. However, according to Medscape:
    “The attorneys general (AGs) of 16 states warn that hospital employment of physicians, which is considered in many quarters to be the inevitable fate of medical practice, is driving up healthcare costs without necessarily improving the quality of care.”

  3. Big Truck Joe says:

    The US is in the midst of a macroeconomic change in labor and our fearless administration and it’s cohorts in the congress don’t want to admit it for fear they’ll actually have to make hard decisions. With 6 million+ low skilled immigrants, job sucking Nafta and Cafta agreements taking good paying blue collar jobs to 3rd world countries, and technology replacing man with machine- this can’t be easily fixed. Widespread real unemployment -U6- will lead to riots similar to Ferguson MO.

  4. Big Truck Joe says:

    As we see an inevitable drive to push the US into a service economy, those jobs will find a way to trickle down to the lowest settings like water through a seive. Thus, due to reimbursement pushing away from costly hospital settings to less costly outpatient settings, Joan Rivers (rip) scenarios will play out more and more throughout the country. But at least CMS will save some money.

    • Victor says:

      Somehow I doubt that Ms. Rivers was at a cut-rate center.
      And I would be surprised if she were not paying out of pocket.