Business

Number of health care jobs increasing

Growth is driven by creation of new positions in physician offices and residential care facilities.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Sept. 30, 2009

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More jobs were created in outpatient settings and a greater number of health care employees were feeling confident enough about the economy to leave their jobs willingly, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the first half of September. Experts say these are signs of economic recovery.

"It's another sign in my mind that some of the recession pressures seem to be easing," said William Jessee, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Medical Group Management Assn.

According to a report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Sept. 4, health care added 28,000 jobs in August. This included 7,000 positions in physician offices and 2,900 in outpatient care centers. Another 10,000 jobs were created in nursing homes and other residential facilities. The bureau does not collect data on the types of jobs added, although experts believe most are probably nonclinical.

The job situation in hospitals, however, does not appear to have turned around. Hospitals lost 700 positions.

"The economic downturn has shown that hospitals are not recession-proof, and the recent employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms this," said Matt Fenwick, American Hospital Assn. spokesman.

Another report, issued Sept. 9, also included positive economic signs. The number of job openings in health care and social assistance increased from 446,000 in June to 506,000 in July. People holding these types of jobs also became more willing to quit. The number in this industry who left their positions voluntarily increased to 272,000 in July from 230,000 in June.

This is viewed as a positive sign because turnover indicates people feel confident about finding another job.

The economy as a whole lost 216,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate increased to 9.7% from 9.4%.

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