Health-Care Sector Adds Jobs as Overall Employment Picture Looks Healthier

By Katherine Hobson originally published on WSJ Health Blog

The jobs picture last month improved overall — and the health-care sector, which has been a bright spot throughout the downturn, continued to grow.

As the WSJ reports, nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 people in December as the unemployment rate, calculated using a separate survey, fell to 8.5% from 8.7% in November.

Here’s the full report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job growth at private employers outstripped job losses in government. The health-care industry added 22,600 jobs in December, following a revised increase of 16,000 jobs the previous month. (Originally the government reported a slightly larger November gain of 17,200, as we reported.)

Data from the BLS show the type of facilities that are hiring, but not the specific types of jobs being added. For example, the report shows that hospitals added 9,800 jobs, but doesn’t reveal whether those are physicians, IT support staff or janitors.

Ambulatory health-care services added a net 11,300 jobs as doctors’ offices, outpatient care centers and home-health services all added positions.

Nursing-care facilities shed about 500 jobs. But the broader category of nursing and residential-care facilities overall gained a net 1,500 jobs in December.

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