BLS data from December and January are preliminary and may be revised considerably in the coming months.
More than 14.2 million people worked in the healthcare sector in January, with nearly 4.8 million of those jobs at hospitals, and more than 6.2 million jobs in ambulatory services, which includes more than 2.3 million jobs in physicians' offices.
The 30,900 jobs created in healthcare in January represent 12.7% of the 243,000 jobs created in the overall economy for the month. In 2011, the 291,300 jobs created by healthcare represented more than 18% of the 1.6 million jobs created in the overall economy that year.
In the larger economy, the nation's unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month in January, falling from 8.5% to 8.3%—its lowest level since early 2009. BLS said the 243,000 new jobs created in January came from the healthcare, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality industries.
Even with the modest gains, BLS said 12.8 million people were unemployed in January. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, was little changed at 5.5 million in January, and represented 42.9% of the unemployed.