Health-Sector Jobs Hit New High Even While Spending Moderates and Price Growth Remains Historically Low

November 12, 2015

ANN ARBOR, MI—The health sector added a robust 44,900 new jobs in October and now accounts for 10.7% of total employment — an all-time high. Hospitals have added 148,000 jobs from January through October 2015, a six-fold increase over the 23,000 jobs added over the same period in 2014. Over the past 12 months, health jobs grew 3.3%, while nonhealth jobs grew by 1.9%.

Health care prices in September 2015 were 1.0% higher than in September 2014, down from 1.2% in August, and returning to the multi-decade low hit in August 2013. Year-over-year hospital prices rose a scant 0.7% in September, while physician prices continue to run a percentage point lower than a year ago. Prescription drug prices rose 4.2%, down from the multi-decade high of 6.4% in December 2014.

After reaching an 8-year high in February, the health spending growth rate has steadily declined from 6.8% to 5.5% in September, year over year. Barring significant downward revisions in the next few months, spending growth for all of 2015 is likely to be well above the 5.3% projected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, despite the anticipated continued decline.

These data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic IndicatorsSM briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending (

“The high rate of growth in health jobs shows no signs of abating. However, we believe that this high growth is linked to expanded coverage, which has begun to level off, and this suggests a commensurate slowdown in health employment in the near future,” said Charles Roehrig, director of the Center.

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Ken Schwartz


Altarum Institute ( integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with additional offices in the Washington, DC, area, and Portland, Maine.


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