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Lab Sector Generates Job Growth

by | Aug 23, 2016 | Essential, Industry Buzz-lir, Laboratory Industry Report

From - Laboratory Industry Report Laboratories have been a significant generator of jobs over the past decade, with the entire sector growing by… . . . read more

Laboratories have been a significant generator of jobs over the past decade, with the entire sector growing by 25 percent. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which began publishing lab-specific jobs data for the first time in January. It was one of 27 new categories—including seven in health care—that the agency broke out to begin calendar 2016, according to an agency spokesperson. Altogether, labs employed 256,000 people in January. A decade ago, the sector had just over 200,000 jobs. The growth among labs has been driven by a variety of factors, including the rise of esoteric molecular tests and toxicology testing. However, labs have not been the biggest driver of job growth in health care. Jobs at nursing care facilities, for example, have doubled over the past decade. The overall health care sector has grown by about 50 percent over the past decade. Whether or not growth in the lab sector continues remains to be seen. According to the BLS, labs lost 3,700 jobs in January—a 1.5 percent drop in total employment.

However, sector officials say that demand has not slackened at all. Francisco Velázquez, M.D., chief executive officer of PAML in Spokane, Wash., noted that his company’s workforce grew by 4.6 percent in 2015. “We closed the year at an 8.6 percent growth in our patient encounters/requisitions that was similar to last year,” Velázquez said. He added that similar growth was forecast in 2016. “We’re busier than we have ever been,” said Chris Harol, a principal with Lighthouse Recruiting, a North Carolina-based firm that focuses on job placements in labs, primarily technicians and lab managers. Harol noted that placement in toxicology labs has been strong, but there has been a recent slowdown in openings at hospital laboratories. Moreover, BLS officials said they were not concerned about the trend. “The estimated 3,700 decline in January is not an extreme movement,” said Tyler Donovan, a BLS analyst. He added that the data would be revised twice more over the next several months “to account for survey respondents whose data was not included in the initial estimate.”

Hiring and compensation trends, workforce retention and management strategies and leadership development will be topics addressed in a Lab Institute 2016 pre-conference workshop to be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill Oct. 26, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. Speakers include Leslie Loveless and Tara Kochis-Stach from Slone Partners, Lee Hubert from Voltage Leadership Academy and Miriam L. Rosen, Esq. of McDonald Hopkins. Come learn about how to get and keep the best talent for your lab’s work force and how to develop strong leaders that can help your lab survive in a challenging and competitive marketplace. For more information, visit www.labinstitute.com or call 888-729-2315.

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