However, in the last few months of 2014 a new narrative has emerged. In December, the healthcare sector shed 6,000 jobs, led by 4,100 job reductions in ambulatory services and 2,400 reductions at hospitals. That was not just a one-month blip. BLS data shows that in the fourth quarter of 2013, hospitals shed 500 jobs. Unfortunately the data is not granular enough to show us specifically what kinds of jobs are being lost.
The healthcare sector created 207,600 new jobs in 2013, considerably down from the 320,600 healthcare jobs created in 2012, but more in line with historical trends from the past five years.
A breakdown of BLS preliminary data for 2013 shows that hospitals created only 9,800 new jobs in 2013, well below the 73,300 jobs created in 2012 and the lowest total since 2009, when only 2,700 hospital jobs were created in the midst of a deep recession. Ambulatory services continue to be the primary job creator for the healthcare sector, posting 180,100 new jobs in 2013. That's down from 208,400 jobs created in 2012. Nursing and residential homes created 17,700 in 2013, less than half of the 38,900 jobs created in 2012.
What's going on here?