HWS Labor Market Pulse Index Shows Improvement in U.S. Health Care Labor Markets, Yet Sluggishness Remains

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The Q2 HWS Labor Market Pulse® Index (LMPI), a quarterly barometer of local market healthcare workforce fluctuations released today, shows near-term demand for health care workers growing fastest in Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Kansas City for the second quarter of 2009. Chicago, Sacramento, and Detroit ranked at the bottom of the 30 markets tracked.

The Q2 HWS Labor Market Pulse® Index (LMPI), a quarterly barometer of local market healthcare workforce fluctuations released today, shows near-term demand for health care workers growing fastest in Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Kansas City for the second quarter of 2009. Chicago, Sacramento, and Detroit ranked at the bottom of the 30 markets tracked.

Among the findings for the second quarter of 2009:

  •     Much of the growth is being fueled by newly announced expansion plans and larger facility openings at organizations including Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte and Kaiser Permanente in Hollywood.
  •     In metropolitan markets including Chicago, Sacramento and Detroit, growth has slowed considerably, and may actually have resulted in net job loss for certain occupations due to layoffs, employee furloughs and derailed expansion plans.
  •     In the most recent quarter, 20 markets of the 30 tracked showed signs of accelerated expansion (vs. 11 in the prior quarter) and only 10 markets fell below national averages.
  •     The LMPI composite index, a representative basket of the 30 largest markets, posted a 22% increase in the second quarter of 2009 from the first quarter of 2009, as the national health care labor market began to rebound from a slow fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of this year.

"After a highly challenging six months, it is reassuring to see some health care markets beginning to turn around and a number of expansion projects being put back on track," said David Cherner, Managing Partner of Health Workforce Solutions LLC, the company that developed the HWS Labor Market Pulse® Index. "However, the LMPI data reflects that some markets continue to struggle more than others and much caution remains."

In response to demands for local workforce data that provides actionable information, HWS launched Labor Market Pulse® in 2008, a first of-its-kind, centralized and local workforce planning tool for health care employers in three major markets.

The launch of the HWS Labor Market Pulse® Index (LMPI) earlier this year expanded the footprint of Labor Market Pulse into 30 markets and now enables meaningful comparison, by tracking elements including temporary health workforce shortages and surpluses, facility and bed closures, announced layoffs and expansions, and local economic trends. Going forward, the HWS LMPI will be expanded to 36 markets and continue to be tracked on a quarterly basis both individually and in composite indices.

For more information on the LMPI, visit http://www.healthws.com or call 1-877-892-2430 x805.

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