Oct. 22—Hospital jobs added little growth to the healthcare sector in September—a sharp slowdown from the previous month, according to the latest federal jobs report.

Hospitals added 300 jobs in September, far fewer than the 4,000 positions they added in August, according to figures released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Healthcare sector hiring, overall, increased by 6,800 positions, which was far below the 42,800 jobs added in the previous month.  

The fastest-growing labor category in this sector was ambulatory healthcare services, which added 8,100 positions. Nursing care facilities were the worst performing category in the sector, shedding 4,300 jobs. 

So far in 2013, the healthcare sector has added an average of 19,000 jobs each month. That compares with an average monthly increase of 27,000 in 2012, BLS noted in a release.

Although hospital employment over the past 12 months is up by 32,700 jobs, hospitals shed 4,600 jobs since July as some high-profile hospitals undertook mass layoffs this year. For instance, Indiana University Health laid off about 900 workers in early October in response to declining patient populations and falling reimbursements, according to media reports.

Those layoffs came as Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a staffing firm, reported in early October that the health care sector led all others with 8,128 announced job cuts last month—the most healthcare cuts since November 2009.

“The health care sector is adjusting workforce levels due to cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements initiated under the Affordable Care Act as well as overall reductions in federal spending due to sequestration,” John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a release.

Publication Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013