KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Care Jobs Plentiful But Tough To Get

While health care jobs are plentiful, "getting one is hard work," The Associated Press/The News-Sentinel reports. "Many people who have lost jobs to the recession may find a cure for unemployment in the health care field," and the demand for nurses, specialists and technicians is strong. "Meanwhile, the Obama administration touts health care as one of the industries that will drive a jobs recovery. But all this doesn't add up to easy opportunity. Many health care jobs require applicants to go back to school, receive some sort of certification and deal with at least a temporary pay cut." In addition, the nursing shortage has eased somewhat during the recession, and "there's also a nursing school faculty shortage," making it difficult to get into nurse training programs (Murphy, 11/3).

Related KHN story: Nurses, Once In High Demand, Face Job Shortages (Linden and Suran, 8/28)

Meanwhile, "Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that it would cut up to 8,000 jobs and streamline its operations as it braces for changes in the healthcare industry," The Associated Press reports in a separate story. "The New Brunswick, N.J., company said the cuts would affect 6% to 7% of its global workforce of roughly 118,700. The restructuring is one of its biggest ever and will prompt a restructuring charge of up to $1.3 billion before taxes in the fourth quarter." Johnson & Johnson "saw its revenue fall 5% in the third quarter as intensifying generic competition slashed sales of about half a dozen of its prescription drugs, including the schizophrenia drug Risperdal and the epilepsy treatment Topamax" (11/4).

BusinessWeek adds that Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon "insists the cuts are not just about saving money on salaries and benefits, but also aimed at making the lumbering conglomerate more efficient. J&J is hoping to reduce the layers of management that can sometimes get in the way of product development. 'We're streamlining the business so we can make faster, easier decisions,' Weldon told analysts" (Weintraub, 11/3).

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