Healthcare Job Creation, Confidence Diminish

Chelsea Rice, May 6, 2013

As the national economy rebounds, healthcare jobs are off their previous gangbuster pace. A few surprises greeted economists reviewing Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics April jobs report (PDF):

  • The economy created 165,000 jobs last month, 50,000 higher than this time last year.
  • Unemployment decreased a percentage point to 7.5%—six points lower than last year.
  • The healthcare sector showed signs of softness.

Healthcare added only 19,000 jobs in April, representing nearly 12% of total U.S. job growth, but it wasn't the standout that it has been in previous months. This month's job growth dropped by 5,000 from the 24,000 monthly average it has maintained since April 2012.

As a comparison, April job growth came largely from restaurants and bars, temporary services, and retailers accounting for 38,000, 31,000, and 29,000 new jobs, respectively.

In the first quarter of 2012, healthcare created 116,300 jobs, compared to 96,900 in the first quarter of 2011. In 2013, healthcare created 78,000 in the first quarter.

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