Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest employment report shows that health care continues to add jobs at about the same rate as the rest of the economy, the shift of jobs to out of hospitals continues.
From March to April, hospitals barely added two thousand new workers. Physicians’ offices, on the other hand, added six thousand, while providers other than hospitals added jobs at a faster rate than hospitals. This is a trend that has persisted for months.
Hopefully, it portends a change in practice to lower cost settings. Nevertheless, hospitals are still adding workers. The hospital lobby often complains that reduced government reimbursement is causing cutbacks. The data do not confirm this.
Further, the unemployment rate in the education and health services sectors is just 3.7 percent (only government workers, with an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent, are doing better). Were the hospitals to actually reduce their workforce somewhat, we could plausibly anticipate that many of those workers would quickly be picked up by physicians’ offices and other health-services providers.