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Is Job Growth In Healthcare Slowing Down?

July 2nd, 2019

When the June employment numbers are released Friday, economists are expecting a rebound from May's disappointing results.

Last month, the government reported 75,000 new jobs were created in May, less than half what analysts forecast. Bloomberg says the June number should be in the neighborhood of 160,000.

Looking for signs of where the economy is heading, labor economists and financial market will be paying close attention to the overall report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, healthcare analysts will be watching industry numbers for their own signs of a possible sector slowdown.

In May, the BLS reported the healthcare sector added 15,700 jobs. That accounted for 21% of all jobs created during the month, yet it was half as many as a year ago, and below both March (49,900 healthcare jobs) and April (27,600). It was also the smallest healthcare jobs growth since September 2017.

Year over year, the strongest job growth has come in ambulatory healthcare services. Of the 252,700 jobs created there from May to May, the largest share -- 62,700 -- was in home health care. But here there has been a noticeable slowdown in the past few months. Between April and May, no new home health care jobs were created.

Physician offices.has also been a strong growth area, adding 62,100 in the 12 months through May. Hospitals added 103, 100 jobs, year over year.

Regardless of what June's healthcare numbers show, a few months worth of data is too little to declare a trend. In fact, the initial monthly employment numbers from the BLS are adjusted over the next two months, so it may be that May will turn out to be stronger than the preliminary numbers showed.

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