In the dark hours of the Great Recession, it was one of the few economic bright spots. Week in, week out, the health care sector was adding jobs at a time when construction, manufacturing and retail hiring were mired in quicksand. Now, health care is a laggard. Health care hiring continues, but it's rising this year at a stubbornly slow annual rate of 1.4 percent, hit by a sluggish economic recovery, mandatory cuts in government spending and streamlining required by the Affordable Care Act. That's down from 1.6 percent in 2013, and 1.8 percent for 2012 and 2011.