ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The health services sector added 45,000 jobs in April 2015, continuing the surge that began roughly 1 year ago. Growth was strong in virtually all subsectors, including hospitals and physician offices. Over the past 6 months, health has added 226,000 jobs, the largest such increase in 25 years. On a year-over-year basis, health job growth now comfortably exceeds nonhealth growth at 2.7 percent versus 2.1 percent.
Health care prices in March 2015 were 1.3 percent higher than in March 2014, but hospital prices rose a scant 0.4 percent, while physician and clinical services prices actually fell 0.6 percent. Prescription drug prices rose 5.7 percent, the second highest reading since February 2002.
Preliminary estimates show that national health spending in March 2015 was 6.8 percent higher than in March 2014. At $3.2 trillion, health spending now represents 18.1 percent of gross domestic product, the first time this share has breached the 18 percent level. Spending in March 2015, year over year, increased in all major categories, with prescription drugs growing the fastest, at 10.7 percent.
These data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic IndicatorsSM briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending (http://www.altarum.org/HealthIndicators).
“While health employment is up pretty much across the board, hospital hiring is particularly noteworthy,” said Charles Roehrig, director of the Center. “In the past 9 months, hospital job growth has averaged more than 9,000 per month, in contrast to essentially zero growth during the prior 24 months.”
Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs almost 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.