January 8, 2024

Healthcare employment up in December, defying expectations

Editor's Note

Healthcare employment in the US rose by 37,700 from December 2023 to January 2024, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on January 5. Overall, employment rose by 2.7 million in 2023 (an average monthly gain of 225,000), which is less than the increase of 4.8 million reported in 2022 (an average monthly gain of 399,000).

That number still surprised experts, who were expecting bleaker results. "Hiring in December far surpassed economist expectations and rebuked concerns of a recession in the coming months," ABC News January 5 noted. According to the article, "the fresh data for December capped a robust performance in 2023...[and] signals an economy resistant to the cooldown sought by" the federal government.

In December, healthcare employment also trended up in:

  • ambulatory healthcare services rose by 19,200
  • hospital employment rose by 15,300
  • nursing and residential care facilities rose by 3,200.

Job growth in healthcare averaged 55,000 per month in 2023, compared to the 2022 average monthly gain of 46,000, the bureau reported. The overall unemployment rate was "unchanged" at 3.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics news release also published on January 5.


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