In the larger economy, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, with most of the new jobs coming in professional services, retail sales, and healthcare. The unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1% . In March the economy created 154,000 jobs, a significant decline after gains averaging 252,000 jobs per month in January and February, BLS reports.
Revised BLS figures show that healthcare created 25,300 jobs in March, 38,200 jobs in February, and 33,800 jobs in January, continuing a strong trend in job growth that saw 296,900 payroll additions in 2011. Healthcare accounted for more than 18% of the 1.6 million new jobs in the overall economy in 2011.
More than 14.2 million people worked in the healthcare sector in April, with more than 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.
Even with the modest gains, BLS said 12.5 million people were unemployed in April, a slight improvement from March. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, fell slightly to 5.1 million people in April, who represented 41.3% of the unemployed.