Health Care Industry Growth Beginning to Slow

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The health care industry has been one of the bright spots in a dark economy in the last few years. But job growth in the industry now looks as if it’s starting to slow.

According to a story in The New York Times, a number of health industry analysts are worried that the hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will dramatically slow job growth.

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Many health care companies rely on government spending, and with Washington talking of further budget reductions, signs of uncertainty are emerging. According to the Times, construction plans have slowed in some places, share prices for nursing home companies have fallen and there have even been some layoffs of support staff at some hospitals.

Federal spending cuts along with economically shaky states and uncertainty about the consequences of the federal health care law are all starting to take their toll. Help-wanted ads for health care providers and technicians fell by 61,200 listings in July alone.

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The Times does cite a few places where growth appears to still be strong, including the University of Michigan Health System (which is adding 560 jobs and is expanding its emergency department) and Partners in Care, a New York nonprofit provider of home health care services, which is opening a second training center to hold all its new employees.

But with deficits being Washington’s focus at least through this year and the next, the health care industry looks to be in for much slower growth over the next several years.