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Number of employees hit by hospital mass layoffs inches up

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 7, 2012

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More jobs were lost in mass layoffs at hospitals in March than in January or February, but the number of incidents held steady, according to the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report released April 24.

Mass layoffs are defined as an episode where at least 50 people from one company claim unemployment benefits because their jobs were eliminated. Smaller incidents are not counted.

Nine such incidents occurred at hospitals in March, with at least 900 people losing their jobs. Nine also occurred in February, leading 532 people to claim unemployment. Another nine were recorded in January, but only 456 people claimed unemployment benefits because of them.

Although there has been a slight uptick in the number of people affected, these figures are still below peak recession levels. For instance, 21 mass layoffs occurred at hospitals in July 2009, the highest number for a single month since September 2005. At least 1,716 people were affected that month, and that was the greatest number for one month since April 2007.

Clinical staff, such as physicians, rarely lose their jobs as part of a layoff. Administrative staff are more likely to be affected.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/05/07/bibf0507.htm.

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