Workforce Briefs: September 2015

Healthcare jobs growth stays hot in August

The jobs outlook in healthcare was as hot as the weather in August, even as job growth slowed in other sectors.

The healthcare field added another 40,500 jobs in August, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary numbers recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A big chunk of those jobs were in the ambulatory care arena, which grew by about 21,100 jobs. Hospitals added nearly 16,000 jobs, according to the preliminary numbers. No other industry approached that number of jobs created in August.

Since the beginning of the year, healthcare has added 457,000 jobs, according to the latest BLS statistics.

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Urgent Care Market Expands

The urgent care market continues to grow, logging gains over the first half of 2015, while the retail clinic market looks a little shakier. That’s according to a recent report from Merchant Medicine, LLC, which monitors these sectors of the healthcare industry. Both urgent care and retail care are projected to become major new employers of healthcare professionals, particularly nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians.

There was actually a net loss of 13 retail clinics in the second quarter of 2015, although there was a total net gain of 49 between January 1 and July 1. Of those 49, Merchant Medicine reported that 37 came from one operator, MinuteClinic. But that’s a pretty small gain when stacked up against some recent predictions of larger growth. Some predicted that there could be as many as 2,900 clinics open by the end of 2015, but there are currently only 1,918 retail clinics in operation.

Meanwhile, 125 urgent care clinics opened and only three closed during the second quarter of 2015.

What Residents Make and How Much Money They Owe

Medscape’s recently released Residents Salary & Debt Report 2015 took the pulse of 1700+ medical residents in 24 different specialties and produced some interesting insight into these physicians-in-training.

What they’re making: The survey found that residents on average are making only very slightly more money this year than last year ($55,400 compared to $55,300). The residents making the most money are in critical care, where they earn about $62,000 annually. Internal medicine and family medicine, meanwhile, earn the least, with an annual salary of about $53,000.

What they owe: Nearly 60% of the residents reported that they owe at least $100,000 in debt, with 37% owning more than $200,000. However, about one-fifth, or 22%, reported that they don’t have any debt at all.

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Physician Compensation Edged Upward in 2014

Many U.S. physicians took home a slightly bigger paycheck in 2014 than in previous years, according to the results of the American Medical Group Association’s Medical Group Compensation and Productivity Survey, which was conducted by AMGA Consulting Services. The survey found that 75% of physician specialties logged an increase in compensation in 2014, with the overall weighted average increase at 2.8%.

Who saw the biggest increase in their bottom line? Topping the list were physicians in hematology and medical oncology, who enjoyed a 10.8% increase in compensation, followed closely by physicians who specialize in pulmonary disease (without critical care) at 10.4%. But not everyone benefitted. Primary care specialists experienced a .3% decrease in compensation.

The AMGA noted that, in general, physician compensation has remained relatively flat over the last few years—with average increases under 3%.