The healthcare industry created 13,000 jobs in June, a significant drop from the sector's 33,300 new jobs in May. The overall unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged at 8.2%.
Nevertheless, Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday shows that healthcare created 169,800 jobs in the first half of 2012, which represent 18.7% of the 902,000 jobs created in the overall economy so far this year. Healthcare created 141,300 new jobs in the first half of 2011.
June Shelp, a lead author of theThe Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine monthly report, says she is seeing lots of "churn" among skilled clinicians in the healthcare labor market.
"The reason you see so many advertised vacancies for healthcare is that it is a fairly scarce commodity," Shelp says. "There aren't as many nurses and doctors as we'd like and they are much more prone to move and change when the opportunity is there, opening up grounds for other people."
That churn, Shelp says, suggests that there is growing confidence—at least among skilled healthcare workers—in their career prospects as the economy stumbles along.