Hospital employment figures surged in a positive direction in October, even as job losses in the overall economy continued to bubble toward the ignoble high-water mark for unemployment seen during the 1982-83 recession. Joblessness in America stood at 10.2% in October, breaking yet another 26-year record and approaching the 10.8% seen in late 1982, which was the highest rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating the figures with modern methods 61 years ago.
The story was entirely different for hospitals last month, however, when employers added 10,000 jobs to a workforce of 4.7 million, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary figures. The 0.2% monthly growth rate was the highest seen all year at hospitals, and more than double the growth rate of one year ago. More than a quarter of all jobs added at hospitals in 2009 came in October.
Physicians' offices added 4,800 jobs to a workforce of 2.3 million, for a 0.205% growth rate, slightly below the average for the year of 0.221%. That was markedly different from a year ago, when doctors shed 0.3% of their workers in October 2008, which was that sector's only month of job losses during the recession.
Healthcare overall also showed positive growth, adding 28,500 jobs to a workforce of 13.7 million for a monthly growth rate of 0.2%, which was about double the job growth seen in the industry a year ago. The October growth rate for the industry was only slightly above the average for the year. Healthcare as an industry has not posted an overall job loss during any of the 23 full months since the recession began.