Healthcare added more jobs than other sectors in 2018, and the growth outlook is strong

By Jeff Lagasse for Healthcare Finance

By the end of the year, there were about 16 million people working in healthcare — about 11 percent of all jobs in the overall economy.

A lot of jobs were created in the U.S. in 2018, and healthcare accounted for 346,000 of them, for an average of 29,000 jobs per month. That’s an increase over the 2017 total of 284,000 healthcare jobs created.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data, the jobs created in the healthcare sector are enough to account for one in seven new jobs in the U.S. in 2018.


Among those new healthcare jobs, 219,000 of them were in ambulatory services and 107,000 were new hospital jobs. Those numbers were boosted by a strong December, with the sector as a whole adding 50,000 jobs during the month — 38,000 in ambulatory services and 7,000 in hospitals.

By the end of the year, there were more than 16 million people working in healthcare, comprising about 11 percent of all jobs in the overall economy. That includes 7.6 million people in ambulatory services and 5.2 million in hospitals.

Compared to other sectors, job growth in healthcare set the pace — putting up higher numbers than food services (with 261,000 new jobs added), retail (92,000), manufacturing (284,000) and construction (280,000).

The BLS has projected that employment in healthcare would grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding more than 2 million jobs over that time, enough to far outpace every other sector. That will be driven largely by an aging population that will increase the demand for healthcare services.


A Glassdoor report in November similarly found that healthcare jobs are set to grow through 2026, although it had the number pegged at 1.1 million new jobs, about half as optimistic as the BLS projections.

Demand for registered nurses alone with create 437,000 jobs, found Glassdoor, while nursing assistants and medical assistants weren’t too far behind and were expected to create 164,000 and 184,600 new jobs, respectively.

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