The health care workforce continued to live in a world apart from the wider economy in September, adding an estimated 19,200 jobs while unemployment in the economy as a whole pushed to a 26-year-high, at 9.8 percent.
Health care as an industry has not recorded an overall decline in jobs since the start of the recession. Preliminary seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the health care sector growing by 0.14 percent in September. The industry has added 195,400 jobs during 2009, growing by 1.4 percent.
Most of the growth has been in outpatient settings such as physician offices and home health care. Physician-office staffing grew by about 0.2 percent in September, adding 5,300 employees to a workforce of 2.3 million. A year ago, physician-office employment grew in September by about 0.3 percent. Home health care services grew by 0.4 percent in September, adding 4,400 workers to a total employment of 1 million, the same percentage as a year ago.
Hospital employment has not fared as well in the recession, particularly in 2009. Hospital employment in September grew 0.1 percent in a workforce of 4.7 million. Last September saw hospital employment grow about 0.2 percent.
In the past 12 months, hospitals, physician offices and home health care agencies added 49,600, 51,700 and 58,700 jobs, respectively. The industry as a whole added 283,300 in that time.