More than 14.2 million people worked in the healthcare sector in February, with nearly 4.8 million of those jobs at hospitals, and more than 6.2 million jobs in ambulatory services, which includes more than 2.3 million jobs in physicians' offices.
The 49,000 jobs created in healthcare in February represent 21.5% of the 227,000 jobs created in the overall economy for the month. In 2011, the 296,900 jobs created by healthcare represented more than 18% of the 1.6 million jobs created in the overall economy that year.
BLS data from January and February are preliminary and may be revised considerably in the coming months.
In the larger economy, the nation's unemployment rate stayed unchanged in February at 8.3%—maintaining a level last seen in early 2009. BLS said the 227,000 new jobs created in February came from healthcare and social assistance, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.
Even with the modest gains, BLS said 12.8 million people were unemployed in February, matching January's measure. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, was little changed at 5.4 million in February, and represented 42.6% of the unemployed.