The healthcare sector continued to grow in December, with 31,000 jobs added according to the monthly employment report issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The growth in December was sparked by added jobs in ambulatory healthcare services (15,000 jobs added) and hospitals (12,000 jobs added).
For the calendar year 2017, ambulatory healthcare services increased by 14.8 percent, adding an additional 176,100 jobs. Hospital jobs increased by 12.4 percent, adding an additional 65,500 jobs.
The U.S. added 300,000 healthcare jobs in 2017. Healthcare remained the healthiest sector in the U.S. economy, but the jobs added last year trailed the 379,000 added in 2016.
Still, healthcare remains a promising and growing industry. As of December 2016, it accounted for 15,594.5 jobs. As of last month, there were 15,894.2 healthcare jobs in the U.S.
The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. ended the year at 4.1 percent. In healthcare and education services, the unemployment rate ended the year at 3.0 percent.
According to the BLS, healthcare will be the largest major employment sector in the U.S. by 2026, with an estimated share of employment of 13.8 percent.
Healthcare jobs are expected to increase significantly in 2018, as well.