Relatively speaking, it's been a slow summer. BLS notes that from June through August, job growth in healthcare averaged 15,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 28,000 in the prior 12 months. Every day in the media we see local stories across the nation about hospital layoffs brought on by financial strains or consolidations.
However painful, these are anecdotal and generally isolated events.
Even with the slow summer, on a macro level in the first eight months of 2012 healthcare created 72,000 more jobs than it did for the same period in 2011. So, it's hard to say if this is the start of a slump in healthcare job growth or merely a blip.
Generally speaking it's not a good idea to hold much stock in one, two, or even three months of job data when making longer term predictions. After all, BLS considers its two most recent months of job data to be "preliminary" and subject to considerable revision.
In August, healthcare created 16,700 new jobs, 17.3% of the 96,000 new jobs in the overall economy for the month. So far this year healthcare has created 197,300 jobs, nearly 18% of the 1.1 million jobs created by the overall economy. Since January 2008 healthcare has created 1.2 million jobs in an economy that has otherwise seen a net loss of 4.7 million jobs over the same period.