Healthcare Sector Leads Online Job Ads Bump in January

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 1, 2010

Online job listings were up sharply in January in many employment sectors across the nation, with continued strong demand for nurses and healthcare technicians, a new report released today shows.

The Conference Board's Help Wanted Online Data Series report, which tracks more than 1,000 online job boards across the United States, found that advertised vacancies for highly skilled healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, such as registered nurses and radiographic technologists, increased by 24,500 listings in January, for a total of 567,800.

Demand for healthcare support personal, such as dental assistants and home healthcare aides, also rose by 6,500 listing for the month, for a total of 119,000, the report shows.

The Conference Board Associate Director Gad Levanon says the overall uptick of 382,000 job listings in most employment sectors in most areas of the country is further evidence that the economy is on the rebound. January's overall online advertised vacancies—which surpassed 4 million for the first time since November 2008—are consistent with listing growth in November and December and reflect recent strong growth in GDP numbers for the fourth quarter of 2009.

"The last three months have shown a sharp upturn in employer demand for workers," Levanon said. "These increases have brought us back near the labor demand levels that existed in November 2008 just prior to the huge losses resulting from the financial turmoil in the last quarter of 2008. This is very good news since these seasonally adjusted increases come in two months when we normally see employers cut back on advertising for workers."

The Conference Board report jives with the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data, which show that the healthcare sector created 267,000 new jobs in 2009, including 22,000 payroll additions in December. However, BLS data also show the overall economy shed 85,000 jobs in December as the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10%.

Of the 22,000 new jobs in the healthcare sector in December, the biggest job growth came from physicians' offices, with 9,000 payroll additions, and home health services, with 8,000 payroll additions. Physician offices added 55,000 jobs in 2009, BLS data show.

BLS figures also show that the healthcare sector—which includes everything from hospitals to outpatient surgery centers to podiatrists' offices—has added 631,000 jobs since the recession began in December 2007. In that same timeframe, the number of jobless people in the nation has risen from 7.7 million to 15.3 million.

The newest BLS employment data for January will be released on Friday.

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