120,000 Jobs are Better than Nothing

The monthly jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor today is tepid at best, but there are some positive nuggets. The original estimation of over 200,000 jobs being added in March got a lot of hopes up, so the final statistic of 120,000 pales in comparison. It’s like trying to lose weight and losing only a pound after a week of working hard, expecting to lose at least three pounds. Still, jobs were added while unemployment claims and the unemployment rate inched lower.

One of the positive nuggets is healthcare is one of the sectors that added jobs.

According to a statement released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, healthcare employment continued to grow, with over 26,000 new jobs added. Within the industry, physician offices and hospitals each added 8,000 jobs over the month. Again, this proves that healthcare has consistently been a thriving industry despite the lukewarm job market.

Even in a recession people need medical treatment, keeping hospitals and healthcare relevant. Advances in technology and Meaningful Use requirements are driving the growth in this industry. Health IT positions requiring a clinical background are on the rise and this is opening up opportunities for nurses who may have been laid off or are facing a lay off.

According to a recent study by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI), Needles in a Haystack, Seeking Knowledge with Clinical Informatics (February 2012), this growth has increased dramatically since 2010. “Compared with results from a 2010 HRI survey, it appears providers have experienced growth across all key clinical roles of their informatics programs. Roles experiencing greatest growth included nurse informaticists and other clinical informaticists. Fifty-eight percent of providers reported they employ nurse informaticists – their most frequently reported resource – up from 42 percent in 2010, and 47 percent said they employ other non-physician clinical informaticists, up from 31 percent in 2010.”

The March jobs report has many getting apocalyptic again and ready to raise their “The End is Near” signs.  More than 100,000 jobs need to be added each month to effectively lower the unemployment rate and this goal has been met consistently since September 2011. The pace may be slow, but adding 120,000 jobs is progress and definitely better than nothing.

E.J. Fechenda is the Audience Data Manager for MedTech Media. Since 2008 she has helped manage Healthcare Finance JobSpot and Healthcare IT JobSpot - now merged with HIMSS JobMine. She is not a Human Resources professional, nor a healthcare expert, but over the years she's accumulated a lot of feedback and insight from both job seekers and employers alike. Each week E.J. will deliver a blog based on this information. One week will be employer focused and the next week, job seeker focused.