The healthcare sector created 26,800 jobs in March and the overall economy created 162,000 new jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released this morning.
The national jobless rate remained steady at 9.7%.
Ambulatory services accounted for 15,500 payroll additions in March, after reporting 6,700 payroll additions in February. Hospitals accounted for 1,900 new payroll additions. Nursing and residential care facilities reported 9,400 payroll additions, and physicians' offices reported 1,000 payroll additions.
The healthcare sector has been one of the few areas of job growth during the recession, creating 228,700 new jobs in 2009, and 588,000 new jobs since the recession began in December, 2007.
BLS information from February and March is considered preliminary and may be revised.