The healthcare industry didn't add as many jobs in January as it did in December, but that's partly because December was a record month. The last month of 2018 saw 52,000 jobs added, while 42,000 more were added in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ambulatory services led the way in January, tacking 22,000 more jobs into the sector, while hospitals gained 19,000 jobs. That far outpaced December, in which hospitals only gained 7,400 jobs.
The healthcare industry has added 368,000 jobs overall over the past 12 months, enough to account for about 11 percent of the country's jobs -- a number that's expected to hit 18 percent by 2026 as the population ages.
Despite those job gains, though, certain healthcare jobs are likely facing shortages, particularly nurses and primary care physicians. BLS predicts a nursing shortage north of one million by 2022. Registered nurses are actually projected to increase 15 percent by 2026, but the aging population is expected to offset those gains and then some.
There were job increases in other industries as well, including construction, transportation and leisure and hospitality. Overall, 304,000 non-farming jobs were added in January.
The unemployment rate did increase slightly, however, to 4 percent.
By the end of 2018, there were more than 16 million people working in healthcare, including 7.6 million people in ambulatory services and 5.2 million in hospitals.
A Glassdoor report in November found that healthcare jobs are set to grow through 2026, although it had the number pegged at 1.1 million new jobs, about half as optimistic as the BLS projections.
Demand for registered nurses alone with create 437,000 jobs, found Glassdoor, while nursing assistants and medical assistants weren't too far behind and were expected to create 164,000 and 184,600 new jobs, respectively.