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2010 the second-worst year for hospital mass layoffs in 15 years

The total of hospital mass layoffs for 2010 was the second highest for the past 15 years. The number of employees affected was the third highest, according to a government report issued Jan. 27. Mass layoffs are defined as at least 50 people losing their jobs from a single company. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on the type of eliminated jobs, although analysts have said administrative and support staff are usually most affected. The elimination of physician and other clinical staff jobs is far less common. The monthly numbers were fairly high for most of 2010, although they dipped in the final months. Three such incidents occurred at hospitals in December 2010, bringing the total for the year up to 137. At least 173 people lost their jobs in these actions in December 2010, with a total of 10,490 for the year. The highest number of mass layoffs in a single month in 2010 occurred in April, with 18. That month also had the most people -- 1,967 -- filing for unemployment benefits as a result of a mass layoff in this setting. The year 2009 set the record with 152 mass layoff incidents. The number of people affected -- 11,787 -- was second only to 2005. Then, at least 13,282 people lost their jobs, though there was an unusually high bump because of hospital shutdowns after Hurricane Katrina. The number of layoffs in the ambulatory care setting, a category that includes physician offices, also was high, although this, too, did not break a record. A total of 79 occurred in 2010, but 85 happened in 2009. At least 5,124 employees lost their jobs in 2010, compared with 6,630 in 2009. The BLS also released data on how much it costs hospitals to employ various staff, but this was not broken down by occupation. These data are not available for physician offices. These expenses grew faster at hospitals than for the economy as a whole. The amount of money paid for salary and benefits for people working in the overall economy grew 0.4% during the past three months, but 0.8% in the hospital setting. Hospital compensation packages have been growing at a slightly faster rate than for workers as a whole for the past year. The full and original article can be found at: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/02/07/bisf0209.htm
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