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Labor

Note from the editor

Even in the age of increased automation, the healthcare sector could not exist without human labor. Employees are one of the largest costs for most hospitals and critical to the success of health systems.

Healthcare jobs have boomed this year, though unevenly depending on the setting. Faced with declining margins, providers are looking to curb expenses. Executives say the year ahead will see new attempts to trim labor costs.

Worker wages have also lagged behind job growth, setting up more clashes between management and the rank and file. The increasing consolidation in the sector, meanwhile, puts further pressure on provider-labor relations, with unions taking action amid layoffs that typically come when companies merge.

Those clashes and pressures show no signs of easing soon and will be further impacted if the economy slows down further. Either way, we'll be watching.

Kim Dixon Managing Editor

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Health industry employee benefit costs up 14.6% since 2004