Healthcare, an engine of employment through the recession, shed 6,000 jobs in December with payroll declines in ambulatory care and hospitals.
The drop comes at the end of a year in which healthcare hiring flagged, adding a below average number of jobs, new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show. Healthcare added 271,000 jobs last year to bring the industry's total to 14.57 million. Hiring fell about 2% below the annual average since 1990.
Healthcare employment figures are closely watched by some economists, who see the industry's hiring trends as an indicator of health spending growth. Continued hiring suggests to some a potential rebound from the recent historically low rates of health spending, as employers see opportunities to recover labor expenses in negotiations with insurers.
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Source: Modern Healthcare