Hiring in Ambulatory Clinics Back on Track; Other Health Jobs Lagging

Last Friday’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics caused some joy in the land: 321,000 jobs were added in November. My Forbes colleague Bruce Japsen cheered about an “Obamacare jobs bump” in health services. If true, this would be an example of Bastiat’s broken-window fallacy: Broken windows create employment for glaziers, so the government should encourage breaking windows.

Similarly, Obamacare “broke” health care. So, we cannot be sure if jobs added in health care are adding value to society, or are just a response to Obamacare’s making health care even more inefficient than it was.

However, there was no Obamacare jobs boom in November. As shown in Table 1 and Table 2 (below), jobs in health care increased by 0.19 percent from October. Non-health nonfarm civilian jobs increased 0.23 percent. So, healthcare jobs increased at a marginally slower rate than other jobs.

However, ambulatory hiring resumed its torrid pace, after a lull in October, when hiring in outpatient clinics froze. In November, it was nursing and residential care facilities which froze hiring, while hospital hiring increased only 0.09 percent.

We continue to see a significant transfer of employment in health services from inpatient institutions to ambulatory facilities. Hopefully, this is a positive change.

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

10/31/2014 11/30/2014

Change

Percentage Change

Total Nonfarm

139,724

140,045

321

0.23%

Health

14,835

14,864

29

0.19%

Ambulatory

6,750

6,774

24

0.36%

Offices of Physicians

2,510

2,517

7

0.26%

Outpatient care centers

726

730

4

0.54%

Home health care services

1,304

1,309

5

0.38%

Hospitals

4,822

4,826

4

0.09%

Nursing & residential care facilities

3,263

3,264

0

0.01%

Nursing care facilities

1,650

1,649

-1

-0.08%

Total Nonfarm less health

124,889

125,181

292

0.23%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Summary, November (December 5, 2014)

 

Table 2: Employment Situation Summary (seasonally adjusted, thousands)

11/30/2013 11/30/2014

Change

Percentage Change

Total Nonfarm

138,536

140,045

1,509

1.09%

Health

14,635

14,864

228

1.56%

Ambulatory

6,584

6,774

190

2.89%

Offices of Physicians

2,465

2,517

52

2.13%

Outpatient care centers

698

730

33

4.67%

Home health care services

1,271

1,309

38

2.99%

Hospitals

4,807

4,826

19

0.40%

Nursing & residential care facilities

3,245

3,264

19

0.59%

Nursing care facilities

1,652

1,649

-3

-0.19%

Total Nonfarm less health

123,901

125,181

1,281

1.03%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Summary, November (December 5, 2014)

* * *

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

 

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