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Healthcare Sector Props Up March Jobs Report

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2013

Solid job growth in the healthcare sector in March continued to prop up national job creation numbers during an otherwise anemic month. Healthcare accounted for 23,400 of the 88,000 new jobs created in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Within the healthcare sector, 15,000 jobs were created in ambulatory services, which includes physicians' offices, and 8,000 jobs were created in hospitals.

Andrew Hanson, a research analyst at the Center on Education and the Workforce–Georgetown University, says healthcare job growth is expected to continue grow as Americans age.

"The fact that healthcare is one of four new jobs in this month's report is very much in line with our expectations," Hanson says. "Given the sort of underwhelming job growth overall, the number of healthcare jobs might be a little bit less than we might expect, but that doesn't have so much to do with its strength relative to other jobs. It's more that there is weak job growth overall in this report."

Healthcare created 62,900 new jobs in the first quarter of 2013, a pace that is significantly lower than the 88,200 jobs in the first three months of 2012. In 2012 the healthcare sector created 320,600 jobs, BLS data show.

Hanson cautions against reading too much into the dramatic drop in job growth in the first quarter of 2012 when comparing the same period in 2012.

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