The healthcare industry started off the year with a net hiring gain of 23,000 new jobs, according to the latest monthly employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is solid growth, it is slightly below average for the healthcare industry and well below December's significant gains (of 45,000 new healthcare jobs).
Most of the new jobs were added in ambulatory care settings, including doctors' offices (+9,200) and outpatient care centers (+4,700), and home health care (1,300). In fact, 28,000 total jobs were added in ambulatory care, but the net industry job growth was offset by the loss of 8,000 jobs in nursing and residential care facilities. Meanwhile, hospitals added 3,600 jobs.
January's job growth brings the total number of healthcare jobs added over the past year to 320,000.
The unemployment rate for the healthcare industry is 5.4 percent, down from 5.5 percent this time last year. Healthcare's unemployment rate is still much lower than the nation's overall unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, which remains unchanged despite the addition of 157,000 jobs.