Hiring in Outpatient Clinics Froze Last Month

Hiring in health care continued its moderate pace in October. Because non-health job growth has picked up, healthcare hiring no longer dominates job growth. (In August, one in four jobs added was in health care.)

According to Table B-1 of the employment report (Table 1 below), health care hired 24,500 workers in October (seasonally adjusted), increasing employment by 0.17 percent. Non-farm payrolls, excluding health care, increased 0.15 percent. So, job growth in health care has settled down to a rate similar to the overall economy.

However, hospitals have picked up their hiring, adding 7,000 workers for growth of 0.13 percent, as shown in table 1. Hospital hiring had lagged other health hiring for months. Home health added a lot of employees, while nursing homes actually shed jobs. Outpatient clinics froze hiring in October.

Over the last twelve months, as shown in table 2, employment growth in health care (1.63 percent) lagged nonfarm hiring, excluding health care (1.96 percent). Outpatient clinics’ payroll increased by 4.56 percent.

I would like to think that health care has cut back the pace of hiring because facilities are no longer convinced that Obamacare will bring them a gusher of new revenue. However, that is still to be determined. Certainly, publicly traded hospitals and clinics have credited Obamacare for their improved results lately.

Convenient, retail clinics, which are the most effective way to deliver many primary services, have hired lots of people over the last year. Hopefully, these and other outpatient facilities are just taking a breather to manage their growth responsibly, and not losing market share to more expensive hospitals.

Table 1: Employment Situation Summary (seasonally adjusted, thousands)
9/30/2014 10/31/2014 Change Percentage Change
Total Nonfarm

139,466

139,680

214

0.15%

Health

14,805

14,830

25

0.17%

Ambulatory

6,725

6,744

19

0.28%

Offices of Physicians

2,506

2,510

4

0.14%

Outpatient care centers

725

725

0

0.00%

Home health care services

1,297

1,304

7

0.57%

Hospitals

4,816

4,822

7

0.13%

Nursing & residential care facilities

3,262

3,264

3 0.08%
Nursing care facilities 1,652 1,651 -1 -0.06%
Total Nonfarm less health 124,661 124,850 190 0.15%

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation, October 2014 (November 7, 2014)]

Table 2: Employment Situation Summary (seasonally adjusted, thousands)
10/31/2013 10/31/2014 Change Percentage Change
Total Nonfarm 137,037 139,680 2,643 1.93%
Health 14,592 14,830 238 1.63%
Ambulatory 6,560 6,744 184 2.80%
Offices of Physicians 2,461 2,510 49 1.98%
Outpatient care centers 694 725 32 4.56%
Home health care services 1,259 1,304 45 3.60%
Hospitals 4,797 4,822 26 0.53%
Nursing & residential care facilities 3,236 3,264 29 0.89%
Nursing care facilities 1,653 1,651 -1 -0.07%
Total Nonfarm less health 122,445 124,850 2,405 1.96%

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation, October 2014 (November 7, 2014)]

John R. Graham is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute.
Posts by John R. Graham | Full Biography and Publications
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