The health sector continued its strong job growth in June with the addition of 40,100 new jobs. Health job growth doubled between 2013 and 2014 (13,000 versus 26,000 jobs per month) and is nearly three times as high in the first half of 2015 (38,000 per month) than it was in 2013. Much of the acceleration stems from hospitals, which have added nearly 12,000 jobs per month in the first half of 2015, compared to 3,500 per month in 2014. Health job growth in June at 2.9% year over year has pulled ahead of the nonhealth rate of 2.0%.
National health spending in May 2015 was 5.9% higher than in May 2014, moderating from a more-than-8-year peak growth rate of 6.8% in March 2015. Prescription drug spending growth continued a 5-month decline from a high of 13.1% in December 2014 to 9.3% in May, the first time that drug spending growth has been below 10% since February 2014.
Health care prices in May 2015 were 1.1% higher than in May 2014, only a tenth above the decade-plus low of 1.0% growth registered in August 2013. Hospital prices rose by a low 0.7%, while physician and clinical services prices plunged to -1.1%. Prescription drug prices rose 5.3%, moderating substantially from the decades high rate of 6.4% reached in December 2014.
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).
“The rapid rise in health sector employment accords with the health care spending growth we estimate in this month’s spending brief and in our June Trend Report,” said Charles Roehrig, director of the Center. “However, we expect continued moderation in health spending growth during the second half of 2015 as we move past a period of increased insurance coverage and high drug spending, especially as price growth remains near historic lows.”