Healthcare Creates 1 in 5 New Jobs

John Commins, September 2, 2011

The healthcare sector has again provided about the only bright spot in an otherwise drab report on job growth in August from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Healthcare employment rose by 29,700 jobs in August, and the sector has created 205,100 new jobs in the first eight months of 2011, accounting for 22% of the 930,000 non-farm payroll additions in the overall economy in 2011, BLS preliminary data show.

A further breakdown of BLS preliminary data show that within the healthcare sector, hospitals gained 7,700 new jobs in August, after recording 11,000 new jobs in July. Hospitals lost 1,900 jobs in June, but have created 52,600 new jobs so far in 2011. By comparison, in the first eight months of 2010, hospitals created 15,800 new jobs, BLS data and preliminary data show.

Ambulatory services created 18,100 new jobs in August, and have been responsible for 58% (119,600) of new jobs in healthcare so far in 2011. Ambulatory services created 110,900 new jobs in the first eight months of 2010, BLS data and preliminary data show.

Physicians' offices reported 5,600 payroll additions in August and 30,600 new jobs so far in 2011. Physicians' offices created 39,600 new jobs in the first eight months of 2010, BLS data and preliminary data show.

BLS data from July and August are preliminary and may be considerably revised in the coming months.

Nearly 14.1 million people worked in the healthcare sector in August, with more than 4.7 million jobs at hospitals, more than 6.1 million jobs in ambulatory services, and more than 2.3 million jobs in physicians' offices, BLS preliminary data show.

Beyond the healthcare sector, nonfarm job growth in the larger U.S. economy was flat in August. The stagnant job market was blamed largely on a two-week strike affecting about 45,000 telecommunications workers at Verizon who were taken off the payroll in August. Those workers are now back the job.

The nation's unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged at 9.1%, where it has been since April, with 14 million people unemployed.

The number of long-term unemployed—people jobless for 27 weeks or longer—was 6 million in August, and represented 42.9% of the unemployed, BLS preliminary data show.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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