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Healthcare job growth is bright spot in lackluster August jobs report

Healthcare sector adds 33,000 jobs

While U.S. job growth was less than economists expected in August – increasing by 169,000 – the healthcare sector remained a bright spot, adding 32,700 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report issued today.

In the healthcare sector, ambulatory healthcare services had the most growth, with 26,600 added jobs. Hospitals saw the least growth, adding only 900 jobs in August. Home healthcare services and nursing and residential care facilities continued to be solid, adding 9,500 jobs and 5,200 respectively.

[See also: Little job growth for healthcare in July]

Job gains were made in professional and business services (over 23,000), food services and drinking places (over 21,000) and retail trade (44,000). The information sector lost 18,000 jobs, mostly impacted by a loss of 22,200 jobs in the motion picture and sound recording industries.

Even though overall nonfarm payroll job growth was not as strong as hoped, the unemployment rate remained basically unchanged at 7.3 percent.

The labor department also reported that its employment numbers from June and July were revised. June’s number, reported at 188,000, was adjusted to 172,000 and July’s 162,000 was adjusted to 104,000, for a combined 74,000 less than reported.

The effect of today’s lackluster jobs report on whether the Federal Reserve will scale back its stimulus measures is unknown, reported the national news media Friday morning. The Fed will be meeting Sept. 17-18 and expectations have been that federal officials would scale back on some of the measures it has been using to keep interest rates low and boost growth.