Hospital Labor Costs Inch Up in Q1

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 3, 2011

In 2009, hospital total compensation costs rose 2%, including a 2.1% increase in wages and salaries costs. In 2008, hospital total compensation rose 3.2%, and wages and salaries rose 3.6%, ECI data show.

Even with a general slowing trend in compensation costs, hospitals created 19,600 new jobs in the first quarter of 2011, and 50,100 jobs in 2010, nearly double the rate of job creation from 2009. The entire healthcare sector -- everything from allergists to X-ray technicians -- created 265,800 jobs in 2010, Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data shows.

In the overall economy, total compensation costsfor private industry workers increased 2% over the year ending March 31, compared to the 1.6% increase for the12-month period ending in March 2010. Wages and salaries increased 1.6% for the March 2011 12-month period, up slightly from the1.5% growth seen in March 2010.

ECI data for the March report were collected from 63,000 occupational observations selected from 12,900 private sector businesses, and 11,500 occupations from 1,800 establishments in state and local governments. The full report may be viewed here.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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