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The MedZilla Report for September 2009 - Care Grows Again in September and - Surprisingly - Pharma Sales Jobs Up Too
Date:10/28/2009

Even as more Americans on the whole were out of work in September, health care industry continued growing, adding 19,000 new jobs. But more surprising was the fact that companies have begun posting new pharmaceutical sales jobs.

(Vocus) October 28, 2009 -- Employment in healthcare and related fields continued to grow, even as more Americans found themselves out of work in September. Although 263,000 jobs were lost in the U.S., the health care industry saw an increase of 19,000 jobs - 15,000 of them in ambulatory health care services. The unemployment rate in health care was up 1.7 percent from September 2008, but none of the health care job types tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a negative change from August 2009 to September 2009.

While 19,000 healthcare industry jobs were created in September, they seemed to be spread fairly evenly across the U.S. Only North Carolina and California saw an increase of more than one percent in total job postings; only Massachusetts saw a decrease of more than one percent. No state's total number of jobs posted by employers changed by more than 1.5 percent in either direction. Most of the new jobs posted were in product development, management, and - surprisingly - sales, one of the health care and pharmaceutical job categories hit hardest by the U.S. recession. "It's possible that companies who let go of a lot of sales representatives have reached the minimum number of reps they can keep on staff and still be viable," said Dr. Frank Heasley, president and founder of MedZilla.com, the internet's leading source for healthcare related employment. "We've seen more health system layoffs these past few months than anything else."

September bucked the trend - at least a little bit - as Eli Lilly, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, announced that they would be laying off more than 1,000 people over the next 27 months. Teva and AstraZeneca both said they would be cutting jobs as well; however, they only planned to lay off fewer than 115 people apiece, which, when it comes to pharmaceutical company layoffs, is a very small number. Still, health systems and hospitals announced the bulk of the job eliminations in health care in September, most notably in the Northeast. The pattern observed in August - that these groups have had to eliminate specialty programs - continued into September, with outpatient behavior health and substance abuse centers closing in Massachusetts, a center that serves the mentally retarded closing in Tennessee, and the closing of a gay and lesbian center in San Jose that supports those affected by HIV. Additionally, hospitals have begun making cuts that dramatic television has foreshadowed for several years - for example, 32 nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, Pa., were let go, albeit with severance packages and placement assistance (Patriot News). Many layoff announcements focused on the firing of highly paid executives, but when a hospital announces across-the-board cuts, it is likely going unsaid that nurses are being displaced as well.

For those displaced, though, there is hope - companies in eight states significantly increased their efforts to find qualified employees, with five showing jumps of two percent or more. Only four states significantly reduced their candidate searches, and only Florida and New Jersey backed off by more than five percent. The candidates most likely to be contacted worked in clinical research - companies seeking potential employees in that specialty increased their search efforts by 3.5 percent overall. In terms of job seekers, numbers remained statistically flat in all states except Texas, which saw a rise of 1.2 percent.

For almost the entirety of 2009, health care and education have been seen as somewhat recession-proof. While jobs have been cut in health care, it has grown an average of 22,000 jobs per month - down from 2008 but still on the rise; in contrast, education has subsisted on furloughs and program cuts until this month, when universities and even a school system in the U.S. announced layoffs due to the economy. This is not a trend yet, but it could extend to significant job losses in the field of health care education - especially at the collegiate and post-graduate level.

Dr. Heasley suggested that it is probably too soon to hope that the tide may be turning. "In October, the Dow - which many believe is the leading economic indicator in the U.S. - closed above 10,000 for the first time in a very long while. However, stock market indices simply reflect investor confidence, and have little to do with actual economic health - unemployment is the real measure of this recession, and the human misery it is causing. Although official estimates of unemployment are currently around ten percent, if you include people who have given up, the real figure is closer to 20 percent, and it doesn't look like that's going to change significantly any time soon."

About MedZilla.com:
Established in mid-1994, MedZilla is the original and leading web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. The MedZilla jobs database contains about 7,500 open positions. The resume database currently contains over 285,000 resumes with 16,800 less than three months old. These resources have been characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases of their kind on the web in the industries served.

Medzilla® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright ©2009, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL www.medzilla.com. For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact MedZilla, Inc. at press(at)medzilla(dot)com.


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