- The healthcare sector added a seasonally adjusted 23,900 jobs last month. Those numbers are behind the trailing 12-month average for job creation.
- Ambulatory care saw the biggest job gains. Nursing care facilities, residential mental health facilities and offices of non-physician healthcare practitioners saw slight seasonally adjusted drop-offs.
- Overall, the U.S. economy added 130,000 jobs in August, allaying some anxieties about a potential recession, though there are still signs of an upcoming slowdown.
As the U.S. struggled in the years after the Great Recession to put that wrenching downturn behind it, healthcare remained one of the most reliable job generators in the economy.
Amid fears that President Donald Trump's trade war may push the U.S. economy into recession after its longest uninterrupted period of growth in history, healthcare continues to generate new jobs. The nearly 24,000 positions added last month compares to 29,400 new jobs in July.
Jefferies analysts Jason Plagman and Birna Tanquilit observed in a note late last week that healthcare sector has grown for 67 consecutive months. "We expect the combination of solid demand growth plus tight clinician labor markets to support continued favorable demand trends in the healthcare temp staffing industry," they wrote.
However, growth the past couple of months is weak compared to the monthly average over the past year. Healthcare has added a seasonally adjusted 392,100 jobs to the economy between August 2018 and last month — an average of more than 32,000 per month. August's numbers are about 25% percent below the trailing 12-month average.
Hospitals, by far the biggest employer in healthcare, added a seasonally adjusted 8,800 jobs in August, up from just 1,600 new jobs in July. Last month's total is just under its trailing 12-month average of 8,125 new jobs per month.
The biggest job creator was ambulatory care. It added a seasonally adjusted 12,100 new jobs, or more than half of the new positions in healthcare last month. But that was still well behind its trailing 12-month average of 21,350 new jobs — as well as the impressive 23,200 new jobs added in July.
Home healthcare also added a seasonally adjusted 6,800 new jobs in August, slightly above its trailing 12-month average of just under 6,200, but down from the 7,700 jobs added in July. Nursing and residential care facilities added 3,000 new jobs, in line with the 12-month trailing average, but down from July’s total of 4,600.