As plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act took center stage last month, job growth in the healthcare sector slowed significantly.
The industry produced 13,500 new jobs in March, more than half the 31,400 new positions created in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total employment in the sector is 15.65 million. The overall unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 4.5% in March, and the number of unemployed declined by 326,000 to 7.2 million.
Healthcare led job growth throughout 2016, but construction surpassed it last month, adding 17,000 jobs. Within the healthcare sector, hospitals produced the most jobs with 8,700 new positions in March. Ambulatory care added 6,800 jobs. In the first three months of this year, healthcare added an average of 20,000 jobs each month.