The healthcare industry continued to churn out jobs in June even as it faces uncertainty over efforts by the Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The industry produced 36,500 jobs in June, marking the strongest month so far in 2017 for job creation in the healthcare sector and far outpacing the 20,600 jobs added in May, according to the most recent jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall employment in the sector is now 15.74 million.
The strong payroll creation in healthcare last month was on par with the rest of the nation. The economy added 222,000 jobs in June, far outpacing analysts who expected only about 175,000 jobs would be added last month. But the unemployment rate did rise slightly from 4.3% in May to 4.4% in June.
The bulk of the 36,500 new healthcare hires in June were concentrated in ambulatory care services, which added 26,000 jobs. Hospitals added 11,700 jobs.
Even with these gains, jobs in the healthcare sector are growing at a slower pace compared to last year. Healthcare has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month in the first half of 2017, compared to an average monthly gain of 32,000 jobs in 2016.
Overhanging healthcare hiring is the Senate GOP's Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is expected to cripple job growth because of cuts to coverage. A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund found BCRA would result in 919,000 fewer jobs in the healthcare sector by 2026 and 1.45 million fewer jobs in the economy overall.
Despite the uncertainty, analysts have previously told Modern Healthcare the industry will continue to hire workers to care for the aging baby boomer population. The growing emphasis around preventive care also supports job growth.