Healthcare organizations hired 34,000 additional workers in February, according to monthly numbers just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It was the second straight month of growth. Over the prior 12 months, some 260,000 jobs were added in the healthcare sector, an average of 22,000 jobs per month, the BLS reports.
Ambulatory care centers were the fastest-growing healthcare sector, adding nearly 17,000 jobs last month, followed by home care (7,500), outpatient centers (2,600), skilled nursing facilities (1,900) and physician offices (1,500). Meanwhile, hospitals added about 2,100 jobs in February.
Pundits attribute much of the growth to the emerging recovery, although they warn that healthcare job creation may suffer from rising fuel costs and continued state budget squeezes.
In December, the BLS identified healthcare as one of the top 10 U.S. industries projected to have the most growth. Employment in offices of physicians, home health care, services for the elderly and nursing care facilities are expected to grow by 2 million by 2018, while "occupational groups" jobs such as registered nurses and home health aides will add more than 1 million jobs combined by 2018.
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