The U.S. healthcare sector continued its expansion in early 2011, with employment increasing in January by approximately 10,600 jobs.
Over the prior 12 months, the healthcare industry has added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
According to the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest healthcare job gains were in ambulatory care settings, where 8,000 jobs were added in January.
Hospitals also added jobs in January, although at a much lower rate, with a total increase of 700.
The dominant job growth area in ambulatory care was in home healthcare services, which added 4,300 jobs. Outpatient care centers added 2,500 jobs, while physician offices added 2,100 jobs.
Nursing and residential care facilities continued to hire employees in January, as employment increased by 1,900 jobs.
Overall, total non-farm payroll employment increased by 36,000 in January, and the national unemployment rate fell from 9.4 percent to 9 percent. The number of unemployed decreased by 600,000 to 13.9 million.
Over 2010, these measures were down from 9.9 percent and 15.2 million, respectively.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 or more weeks) fell slightly to 6.2 million. The long-term unemployed currently make up about 43.8 percent of unemployed persons.