Friday, September 2, 2016

Job Losses in Nursing Homes A Drag On Health Job Growth

This morning’s jobs report was somewhat weaker than expected, adding 151,000 jobs versus 180,000 expected. For the first time in many months, job growth in health services slightly lagged growth in non-health jobs (0.09 percent versus 0.11 percent).

However, there was a significant divergence within health services: Jobs in ambulatory care and hospitals jumped 0.16 percent and 0.21 percent, while nursing homes shed 7,000. That imposed a massive drag on health services overall, limiting growth to 14,000 jobs (Table I below the fold).

Despite this surprising decline in nursing home jobs, health services jobs still show disproportionate growth year on year, comprising almost one fifth (18 percent) of jobs added since August 2015. Both ambulatory settings and hospitals have added jobs at more than twice the rate of non-health jobs (Table II).

Revisions to the previous months’ estimates were small overall. However, this disguises downward revision to the original June and July estimates of health services jobs and upward revisions to the estimates of non-health jobs (Table III).

The disproportional increase in health services jobs deliberately caused by Obamacare may not be as big as previously thought.

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