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The MedZilla Report: April 2009 Employment Outlook for Biotech/Pharma/Health
Date:5/25/2009

Despite announcements of layoffs in the healthcare field, job growth rose slightly, with 17,000 more jobs created in April. Though there was an increase of more than 20 percent from March, job growth overall is off by about 40 percent compared to 2008.

Seattle, WA (Vocus) May 25, 2009 -- With first quarter job growth in healthcare off by about 40 percent from first quarter 2008, job seekers might have expressed concern that a field once thought to be recession-proof was succumbing to economic pressures. However, job growth remained steady through April, with 17,000 new jobs created -- 3,000 more than in March.

As healthcare groups look to save money without cutting patient care standards, they have begun highlighting more alternatives to layoffs, such as unpaid furloughs, salary and 401(k) freezes, and the elimination of executive positions. Unfortunately, this step is rarely enough -- in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, or any other industry -- and more layoffs were announced in April. Many hospital systems said they were planning to terminate some employees as well as freezing open positions. Moreover, one of the biggest -- New York City Health and Hospitals -- said their recent 400-deep layoff action was not enough, owing to an increase in uninsured patients (Wall Street Journal Abstracts, April 13, 2009). "Even as people lose jobs across the board, they still need health care," said Michele Hopps, director of marketing for MedZilla.com, the internet's leading source for healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology employment. "Hospitals can't in good conscience turn away people who need help, but if they're not getting reimbursed, they lose money and have to make it up in other ways. Sometimes that means layoffs." One interesting piece of mixed news on healthcare layoffs came from the Associated Press (April 18, 2009) -- a hospital in Paducah, Ky., cited a weake
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