Job growth in the healthcare sector has been strong in the first two months of 2012, accounting for one in five new jobs in the overall economy, and even surpassing the robust pace of job growth throughout most of 2011, new federal data shows.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the healthcare sector created 49,000 jobs in February, including 28,200 jobs in ambulatory services, and 15,400 jobs in hospitals.
J.D. Kleinke, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the explosion in healthcare job growth "is just more of the same."
"Healthcare is recession-proof. Healthcare costs always go up. There is always going to be growth," Kleinke says. "For all its capital and technology, it is still a labor intensive industry. People want to see their doctors. Nursing is very labor-intensive. You can't automate healthcare like you can manufacturing."
Revised BLS figures show that healthcare created 43,300 jobs in January, continuing a strong trend in job growth that saw 296,900 payroll additions in 2011. Healthcare accounted for more than 18% of new jobs in the overall economy last year, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.