Hiring across healthcare in January continued the uptick seen at the end of last year, adding 38,300 new jobs across ambulatory care, hospitals and skilled nursing.
A hiring increase of 0.3% last month brought the sector's total employment to 14.9 million, preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show. For the year that ended in January, healthcare employers added 342,100 new workers, an increase of 2.3%.
Job growth in healthcare services picked up pace toward the end of 2014, according to an analysis from the Altarum Institute. Economists and policymakers are watching the numbers closely as an indicator of anticipated demand and a coming surge in the rate of healthcare spending growth.
Ambulatory care employment, including physician offices, added 21,700 jobs in January, an increase of 0.3%. The sector's total employment was 6.8 million last month. For the year that ended in January, the ambulatory care workforce grew by 241,600 jobs, or 3.7%.
Physician-office hiring boomed in January, adding 13,400 jobs during the month, compared with 3,300 jobs in December, bringing the number of employees in that setting to 2.5 million. For the year that ended in January, physician offices increased their payrolls by 71,800 workers, or an increase of 2.9%.
Hospitals added 9,600 jobs in January after strong hiring in November and December. The 0.2% increase for the month (and 1.2% growth for the year that ended in January) boosted hospital employment to 4.8 million.
Nursing home and residential care added 7,000 jobs last month, an increase of 0.2%, to bring total employment in the sector to 3.3 million. In the year that ended in January, nursing homes and residential care added 44,300 jobs, an increase of 1.4%.
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