This morning‘s tepid jobs report (Employment Situation Summary) was dominated by health services, which added 37,000 jobs in January. That is just one percentage point shy of one quarter of all nonfarm civilian jobs added (Table I).
Within health care, hospitals dominated, accounting for 24,000 of the 37,000 increase – almost two thirds. (This is interesting because there has been a slowdown in health construction starts. So, there must be a lot of slack in already built facilities.) Hospitals are generally inefficient locations of care, so the pickup in employment in January is actually of concern because it likely indicates more expensive care.
Within ambulatory facilities, offices of physicians and other practitioners dominated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has started to report a more detailed breakdown in its monthly release. So, we can see that employment in labs actually decreased.
Over the last twelve months, health jobs accounted for almost one fifth of nonfarm civilian jobs added: 47,000 of 2.7 million (Table II). Hospital employment is a significantly smaller share of growth in health jobs over the longer term, with physicians’ offices and home health dominating job growth in ambulatory facilities.