(Vocus/PRWEB) December 14, 2010
November was a difficult month for employment, with job cuts increasing to their highest levels in months and even the number of new health care jobs backing off a bit. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase in the unemployment rate, from 9.6 to 9.8 percent, and the number of people either fired or coming to the end of temporary jobs was up to almost 400,000. Additionally, according to outplacement research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the pace of downsizing was up to its highest level in eight months, with a 28 percent increase in job cuts and almost 5,000 people laid off in the pharmaceutical industry. Health care was up by 19,000 jobs, but the job creation rate was down by almost 20 percent.
"The cynics in the audience have a lot to say about the seemingly-sudden jump in job losses," said Del Johnston, Manager of Client Relations for MedZilla.com, the internet's most established source for health care, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology job postings and information. "They fear that, now that the campaigns are over, the government doesn't have any reason to fight for new jobs." In late November and early December, politicians in Congress fought each other on whether or not unemployment benefits should be extended beyond the 99 weeks unemployed persons are currently eligible to receive (mlive.com, 12/5/10). "Most people on unemployment want to get new jobs," said Johnston," and while some sectors are showing growth -- health care and technology, mostly -- a lot of the jobs that were eliminated over the past three years may remain gone for years to come."
As noted in previous MedZilla reports, hospitals have had to start cutting clinical personnel. One such layoff came from the St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. (koamtv.com, 11/18/10); fewer than 50 people were laid off. In the pharmaceutical industry, Roche said they would be laying off about 4,800 people worldwide in the coming months (marketwatch.com, 11/17/10). But while the U.S. continues to see positive health care job growth and only small layoffs, providers in Britain and Australia face much larger cuts. As many as 27,000 jobs are slated to be cut across the United Kingdom over the next few years (topnews.co.uk, 11/12/10) -- 3,800 in Wales and 1,600 in Yorkshire alone (yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk, 11/12/10). Also, recent nursing graduates in Scotland have had difficulty finding jobs, even with a program that guarantees them 12 months of work if they cannot find employment on their own (heraldscotland.com, 11/26/10). In Australia, Primary Health Care, a medical and pathology company, planned to eliminate nearly 300 jobs (theaustralian.com.au, 11/13/10) while nurses in New South Wales announced a walkout on November 24 to protest increasing patient-to-caregiver ratios, a walkout endorsed by the doctors' union (news.smh.com.au, 11/23/10).
News outlets seemed to avoid announcements of job creation on the specific level, although several did have positive things to say about health care technology and electronic health records. As the deadline for EHR implementation comes closer, jobs could even be created in traditional tech fields, especially if more companies follow the example of AllScripts in building an open-source solution for EHR technology (forbes.com, 11/19/10). Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon have both been vague about how much their EHR applications will cost (connectedplanetonline, 11/8/10), although AT&T has come up with a name for theirs: ForHealth (nytimes.com, 11/4/10). "Just as in the computing and cell phone communities, there may be a battle on the horizon pitting big-name companies and their big-name, big-money services against smaller providers," said John Burkhardt, MedZilla's Director of Operations. "However, we don't yet know if you'll be able to move your records from provider to provider as easily as you can change your cell phone or computer operating system. It's unclear how EHR will work at this time."
In the short-term, however, companies were still looking for new employees in November. According to MedZilla, companies in Washington state increased their applicant searches by almost 13 percent, month-to-month, and five other states showed significant increases as well. "We've been seeing job postings and candidate searches showing up with keywords related to diabetes," said Burkhardt, "which may be related to increases in the need for good elder-care and the aging of the U.S. population." Meanwhile, three states -- Florida, New York, and Texas -- showed significant gains in job postings, while only Massachusetts dropped more than one percent. Searches made by applicants remained flat across the board.
"November was a tough month," Johnston said. "Between layoffs, slowdowns in job creation, and the holiday season, job seekers can feel like the whole world is against them. But staying positive and continuing to work the network remains our best advice if you're looking for work." He also suggested slowing some job search activities in the last fifteen and first five days of the year, as the people making employment decisions are likely to be out of the office. "Submit your resume to job boards and apply on company websites, because those all go into a database, but if you plan to engage your network and start sending follow-up e-mails, the last thing you want is for them to get lost in the shuffle."