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Employment Cost Index

Why Outpatient Care Centers Matter to BLS

The recent growth in outpatient care centers differs from the overall U.S. economy, making this industry very important to the Bureau of Labor Statistics! These care centers are likely to remain important because “The greater availability of insurance, increased pressure to reduce costs, and technological changes continue to shift services from inpatient to outpatient services.”(1)

Chart 1 data table. Employment on the rise
Year Number of outpatient care workers







Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chart 2 data table. Private sector industry growth: 2008-2018
Measure Outpatient care centers All industries

Number of establishments

75% 11%


75% 10%

Note: Growth in outpatient care centers outpaced that of overall U.S. industry growth in both the number of establishments and employment from 2008 through 2018.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Women account for about half of total employment in the U.S., but they hold nearly 4 out of every 5 jobs in outpatient care centers.

Average weekly wages, 2008 to 2018.

  • $1,272 average weekly wage for outpatient care center workers in 2018
  • $362 increase in the average weekly wage for outpatient care center workers
  • 40% increase from 2008 to 2018 compared to 26% for all industries

BLS data affect outpatient care centers, and all of us, in a number of ways

Did you know?

  1. Medicare reimbursement rates are adjusted for changing labor costs and prices using BLS outputs: the Employment Cost Index and the Consumer Price Index.
    • If you accept Medicare this affects YOU.
  2. The Social Security Administration plans to use the Occupational Requirements Survey (BLS) for disability benefit decisions.
    • Some of your patients may apply for disability benefits to use for income and/or medical insurance.
  3. The Producer Price Index (PPI) now publishes changes in the prices physicians receive for the care they deliver by payer type.
    • These PPI data show that while the prices physicians received for their services increased by 0.9 percent from 2018 to 2019, the increase differed by payer type.
    • Prices received from Medicaid patients were unchanged, but those from Medicare patients increased by 0.4 percent; private insurance patients rose by 1.1 percent; and prices received from all other patients were 2.1 percent higher over the year.
  4. Keeping workers safe: BLS data for occupational injury rates and days away from work can inform safety analysis.
    • Outpatient care center workers injured on the job missed a median of 10 days due to their injury. Overall, private industry workers missed a median of 8 days.
    • Workers in outpatient care centers were more likely than those in the overall private industry to be injured by another person.
End notes

(1) Source: Industry Employment and Output Projections to 2024.

To learn more, please visit call 1-202-691-5200, or follow BLS on Twitter @BLS_gov.


Last Modified Date: June 22, 2020