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Healthcare Job Growth Continues for Now

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, November 5, 2012

According to Ellis, the overall unemployment rate should maintain at 7.9 percent over the next few months. Even though he expects jobs to continue to increase, unemployment is a lagging economic indicator, so it will take longer to rebound from the Great Recession than output, sales, or consumer confidence, says Ellis.

October's job creation (171,000) surpassed September's (114,000), as well as the 2012 average monthly job growth (157,000) and even 2011's average (153,000).

Like a reliable "closer," healthcare made another notch in its job creation record, adding 31,000 jobs in October. That is a reduction from the 43,500 jobs created in September, but it still represented a significant portion (18.1 percent) of total job growth in the entire economy last month.

Despite healthcare's Herculean track record—surviving recession, natural disasters, multiple presidential administrations—it's apparently only a matter of time before the industry's job growth will start to slow and possibly decline. Two economists I spoke with on Friday independently suggested that healthcare's positive job growth streak could end.

The difference is at what time, what pace, and why?

While healthcare reform has not "killed jobs," as I wrote recently the uncertainty around whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be repealed has caused hiring managers to pause.

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