The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) are good news for the healthcare industry. Steady growth in October and November indicate that the number of healthcare jobs being created is once again picking up steam after several years of less-than-expected growth. Things look very good heading into 2015.
Here are some of the raw numbers from the BLS:
- 28,500 hospital jobs added so far this year
- 4,300 hospital jobs added in November alone
- 261,000 new hires over the last 12 months.
Most impressive is the fact that the traditional doctor’s office led the way between October and November this year. Statistics show physician offices added about 6,600 jobs. Home healthcare added an additional 5,000 jobs during the same period as well. Unfortunately, nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to show gradual decline.
Industry Making Adjustments
The question now being asked is whether the up-tick in healthcare jobs is the result of an expanding industry or just a matter of the industry making adjustments in response to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Common sense seems to dictate it is the latter of the two choices. The ACA has resulted in some very profound changes in the way healthcare services will be delivered for years to come. It only makes sense that it would also affect hiring in both the short and long terms.
Some speculate that hiring has not been as robust as it should have been over the last couple of years while we all waited to see what the effects of the ACA would be. In addition, there were those who painted a picture rosier than was appropriate when the ACA was first made law, failing to take into account that it would take several years to implement it. The combination of factors perhaps created an illusion that healthcare was not hiring as many people as it should while, in reality, hiring remained at an appropriate level all along.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, nothing changes the fact that healthcare jobs are picking up once again. The increased hiring is expected to continue into next year, as 2015 marks the beginning of the employer mandate. If the 30 million number (the number of individuals estimated to access healthcare services as a result of the ACA) is ever going to be reality, it will happen in 2015. If it does not happen next year, it is not likely to happen unless something else changes.
Hiring Trends – Where Will They Go?
So far this year it appears as though the biggest winners in the healthcare jobs race have been physician offices, home healthcare companies, and healthcare IT firms. No one knows for sure if these trends will continue in 2015 and beyond, but there is plenty of optimism to go around.
Where physician offices are concerned, the primary care doctor and his or her physician assistant and nurse practitioner are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system. All three positions will be in greater demand if 30 million new people do in fact begin accessing healthcare as a result of the ACA. It is unavoidable.
Meanwhile, an aging population and the pending retirement of the first wave of baby boomers should increase the need for home healthcare services over the next several decades, while healthcare IT has already proven to be a vital asset in trying to marry the ACA with the HITECH Act of 2009. Between the both of them, there should be no shortage of healthcare jobs over the next 5 to 10 years.