A Snapshot of the Health Care Workforce



How is the health care workforce changing under Obamacare? This month’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us a snapshot of employment in health care versus the rest of the economy. The table below shows the details.

Despite the widely touted notion that Obamacare is putting hospitals out of business, hospital employment barely budged from February 2013 through February 2014. There are still almost five million workers in hospitals, which are often the largest employer in any district. This makes them a political force to be reckoned with.

However, employment growth in health care has come from various ambulatory settings. This may be a good sign, if it indicates patients are using lower-cost outpatient care—especially convenient clinics in shopping centers and pharmacies—instead of overpriced hospital services. On the other hand, it could reflect increased demand for medical-office staff to deal with the unprecedented compliance requirements of Obamacare.

Overall employment in health care increased 1.32 percent over the twelve months, versus 1.62 percent in nonfarm employment outside health care. The healthcare workforce remains 11 percent of the total nonfarm workforce.

The healthcare workforce is doing fine under Obamacare. Patients? Not so much.

Employment Situation Summary (thousands, seasonally adjusted)

February 2013

February 2014

Change

Percentage Change

Health

14,429

14,620

191

1.32%

Ambulatory

6,422

6,589

167

2.60%

Offices of Physicians

2,421

2,472

51

2.11%

Outpatient care centers

668

704

36

5.41%

Home health care services

1,214

1,261

47

3.90%

Hospitals

4,791

4,788

-3

-0.06%

Nursing & residential care facilities

3,216

3,243

27

0.84%

Nursing care facilities

3,216

3,243

27

0.84%

Total Nonfarm, non-health

121,112

123,079

1,967

1.62%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 7, 2014)

 

 

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