That tightening can be seen in the chart above. And the data is telling a striking story about the past few months:
- Across the past decade, the health care sector grew by about 23,000 jobs every month.
- But between December 2013 and February 2014, the BLS projects the sector gained less than 18,000 total jobs. That's the slowest three-month period on record.
There's reason to be cautious about these latest figures—the 2014 data points are still just estimates, which means that the BLS's economists will update their headcount for January and February again.
However, there is a number we can be more confident about: BLS's 2013 data, which the agency has finalized. And those figures reinforce the broader trend of slowing growth or, forgive me, "slowth."
Specifically, while the industry is still booming compared to other sectors, the growth in health care jobs last year was the slowest since 1999.
And the chief culprit: the slowdown in hospital hiring, which began in earnest last summer.
Had hospital jobs grown at their traditional rates, 2013 would have been an average—or even banner—year for health care jobs growth. Instead, hospitals lost a slim 500 jobs in 2013, the sector's first down year since 1994.
In an upcoming blog post, I'll take a closer look at what's going on with hospitals and health care employment, and what the numbers are telling experts about broader industry trends.
How to get frontline staff to be more productive
Hospitals’ ability to improve cost and quality performance depends on staff at every level within the organization. But there is a troubling disconnect between expectations for the organization and those for frontline staff, Steven Berkow remarks.
Watch Steven's video to learn four key levers for driving shared responsibility and staff commitment to organizational success, then visit the frontline accountability topic page to browse the latest best practice research, expert guidance, webconferences, and more from across the Advisory Board.