Health job market continues upward trend

In the first month of the new year, the healthcare industry added 23,000 jobs — conforming to the industry’s average monthly gains throughout 2012, noted the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a statement accompanying the department’s jobs report released Feb. 1.

Ambulatory healthcare services gained 27,600 jobs, including 9,200 jobs in doctors’ offices and 3,600 jobs in hospitals. The job gains were offset by a loss of 8,400 jobs in the nursing and residential care facilities sector.

Across all industries, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 and the unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed also remained about the same at 4.7 million, accounting for 38.1 percent of those who are unemployed.

Healthcare, retail trade (33,000), construction (28,000) and wholesale trade (15,000) were the industries adding the most number of jobs in January, while transportation and warehousing (14,000 combined) dropped.

The manufacturing, finance, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and government industries showed little or no changes.

The Dow Jones Newswires reported that January’s job numbers did not come as a surprise to economists, who had forecast that the country would add about 166,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate would stay the same at 7.8 percent.