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Health Care Price Increases Remain Low; Employment Growth Slowing Too

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(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A net 15,000 health care jobs were created in October 2013, significantly below the two-year average of 21,000 jobs per month, according to new figures from the Ann Arbor-based Altarum Institute.

For the first 10 months of 2013 the health care industry saw an average of 17,000 new health care jobs a month, compared with 26,000 over the same period in 2012.

Due to moderately strong total employment growth of 204,000 in October, the health sector share of the labor market fell to 10.71 percent — below the record high of 10.73 percent recorded in December 2012.

Meanwhile, the growth in health care spending and prices has remained very low.

National health expenditures in September 2013 grew 4 percent over September 2012, which is in line with the historically low 3.9 percent growth observed each year since 2009.

The health spending share of gross domestic product was 17.4 percent in September, roughly where it has been since the recession ended in 2009.

Health care prices in September 2013 were 1 percent higher than in September 2012, the second consecutive month of 1 percent growth and the all-time low in Altarum’s data, which dates back to January 1990.

These data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending, http://www.altarum.org/HealthIndicators. Due to the federal government closure, much of these data were released a week later than normal.

“Health care job growth through the first 10 months of 2013 is 35 percent below that experienced during the same period in 2012,” said Charles Roehrig, director of the center. “Although the jobs data are ‘noisy’ and subject to revisions, with only two months remaining it seems clear that
growth has slowed in 2013. We will be watching closely over the next few months to see if expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act reverses
this slowdown.”

Altarum provides research and consulting to the health care industry. It employs almost 400 at its Ann Arbor headquarters and offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.

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