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Hospital jobs are declining again

This is in some ways more of a health policy indicator than a labor market one, but according to today's jobs report employment in America's hospitals fell by 7,000.

Historically, months in which the hospital sector sheds jobs have been very rare. But it's been happening more recently. Hospital employment reached a peak of 4,799,000 back in April 2013. Then it declined fitfully and rose again up to 4,802,900 last month. The 7,000 worker decline, however, means that we're back below that April level from over a year ago.

The previous period when you saw year-on-year declines in hospital employment was around 1994 and was associated with an anomalous time when the HMO revolution was driving a decline in health care expenditures. We appear to be seeing labor market signs of a similar tangible effect this year. The health spending slowdown is mostly hailed as good news, but it is true that one person's health care costs is another person's job.

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