The healthcare sector contributed 14,000 of 98,000 total jobs added to the economy in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hospitals added a total of 9,000 jobs while outpatient care centers added another 6,000.
- The healthcare sector generated an average of 32,000 jobs per month in 2016 and has added an average of 20,000 through the first three months of 2017.
The pace of job growth in healthcare sped up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, while job growth continues, there are signs that it may be slowing down.
Gains in insurance coverage achieved through the ACA helped to create around 240,000 jobs in healthcare, according to researchers from the Altarum Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The growth rate for healthcare employment increased from an average of 1.7% from 2010 through 2013 to 2.5% from 2014 through 2016.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) might have reversed job gains. Job growth was driven by increased demand for healthcare services and would have eliminated coverage for around 18 million people, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The drop in coverage would likely have consequences for healthcare jobs.
While the AHCA is currently tabled, legislators could make another push for healthcare reform at some point soon. Uncertainty created by the potential for significant policy changes has some healthcare executives pulling back on hiring. More than a third of hospitals have reported that they are slowing hiring and 31% are scaling back on capital spending.
Job growth may have slowed slightly the past few months, but healthcare is still contributing a significant number of new jobs to the economy. However, a more dramatic shift could occur depending on how healthcare reform plays out.