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Health care adds 19,000 jobs in November

Although the number of hospital positions increases, physician offices lose 500 staff members.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Dec. 20, 2010

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Health care continued to add jobs even as the unemployment rate went up in November. However, doctor offices shed employees during the month. There were 500 fewer jobs in that setting in November.

Health care employment rose by 19,000, including a gain of 8,000 in hospitals. In 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 21,000 jobs a month, which is about in line with monthly job growth in 2009, said Keith Hall, PhD, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a Dec. 3 statement announcing November's figures.

Preliminary estimates from the BLS show the American economy gaining 39,000 jobs in November, much less than experts expected, with the unemployment rate edging up to 9.8% from 9.6% in October.

However, it's possible the November number could change. In the previous two months, the BLS revised job growth upward.

The number of added jobs in physician offices remained unchanged at 3,400 in September. The 2,700 additional jobs reported previously for October changed to 3,200.

The BLS numbers were not broken down by the types of positions created or lost. Anecdotal as well as other data indicate that clinical staff are more likely being added, with support personnel at higher risk of being cut.

This is reflected in online job advertising.

A report issued Dec. 1 by the Conference Board found the number of advertised vacancies for health care practitioners and technicians grew by 12,400 to 555,500 in November from 543,100 in October. Out of the 10 largest occupational groups, health care practitioners and technicians posted the greatest growth primarily because of increases in listings for family physicians and general practitioners, the Conference Board said.

There were 0.38 unemployed for each advertised position.

The number of ads for health care support personnel grew by only 600 from 111,600 in October to 112,200 in November. There were 2.4 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy for this type of job.

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