Recession Hits Healthcare Hiring

Although healthcare has long been perceived as a recession-proof industry, the pace of employment growth has slowed,  with just 17,000 jobs added monthly during January, February and March for a net gain of 51,000 new positions. That’s less than half the 2008 numbers, although hiring is likely to improve later this year because of pent-up demand.  More than 16 million Americans – one in eight – work in healthcare.  Employment in the industry has grown by 500,000 since December of 2007, a time when 5.1 million jobs vanished from the overall economy.

Even the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, which employs 35,000 people, is feeling the pinch.  The destination hospital has frozen salaries for physicians and senior administrators, reduced travel and overtime expenses and cut 2009 capital spending by $150 million.  Standard & Poor’s downgraded Mayo’s debt in March, citing the institution’s large, unfunded pension liability and break-even operating margins.

In the words of Robert Fogel, a Nobel laureate and professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, “It’s a long-term shift reflecting changes in technology and what consumers want.  Healthcare is the growth industry of the 21st century.”

As 78 million baby boomers march towards retirement and old age, the need for healthcare professionals will only grow.  The current slowdown in job growth is a temporary blip on the healthcare radar.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply