Non-Hospital Healthcare Jobs Are Growing Fast



Jobs in health care, especially in outpatient settings, continue to rally. Of 217,000 nonfarm civilian jobs filled in May, 34,000 were in health care. This was twice the average monthly gain over the previous twelve months.

As previously observed, most of these jobs are in ambulatory settings. Two thirds of the gains (23,000) were in physicians’ offices, outpatient-care centers, and home health care. Hospitals added only 7,000 jobs from April.

Table 1 shows the seasonally adjusted changes over the past twelve months. It continues to become apparent that the hospital sector is undergoing a transformation: Care is being increasingly delivered outside hospitals. Although they still account for one-third of employment in health services, job growth in hospitals is anemic. Although outpatient-care centers employ only 715,000 workers, they continue to add jobs rapidly.

Hopefully, this indicates a shift to more productive ways of delivering care. However, the perverse incentives in Obamacare (which cut hospital payments bluntly) caution against optimism.

Furthermore, the government-medical complex continues to provide safe employment, despite much wailing from the trenches. The unemployment rate among workers in education and health services is just 3.9 percent. Only government workers (3.0 percent) and those in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (2.6 percent) are doing better.

Oil and gas workers have good job prospects because technology has opened up new reserves, which undoubtedly adds to human welfare. Health-care workers, on the other hand, may have good job prospects because Obamacare diverts resources into an increasingly bloated sector of our society.

Table 1: Employment Situation Summary (thousands, seasonally adjusted)

May 2013 May 2014 Change Percentage Change
Total Nonfarm

136,084

138,463

2,379

1.75%

Health

14,483

14,702

219

1.51%

Ambulatory

6,467

6,646

179

2.77%

Offices of Physicians

2,432

2,486

54

2.21%

Outpatient care centers

676

715

39

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 3.39.10 PM5.75%

Home health care services

1,231

1,278

48

3.86%

Hospitals

4,792

4,803

11

0.23%

Nursing & residential care facilities

3,224

3,252

28

0.88%

Nursing care facilities

1,654

1,652

-1

-0.08%

Total Nonfarm less health

121,601

123,761

2,160

1.78%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation—May 2014 (June 6, 2014)

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For the pivotal alternative to Obamacare, please see the Independent Institute’s widely acclaimed book: Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman.

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