The healthcare sector created 267,000 new jobs in 2009, including 22,000 payroll additions in December, new Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released this morning show.
The overall economy shed 85,000 jobs in December as the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10%, according to BLS preliminary data.
Of the 22,000 new jobs in the healthcare sector in December, the biggest job growth came from physicians' offices, with 9,000 payroll additions, and home health services, with 8,000 payroll additions. Physician offices added 55,000 jobs in 2009.
The healthcare sector—which includes everything from hospitals to outpatient surgery centers to podiatrists' offices—has added 631,000 jobs since the recession began in December 2007. In that same time frame, the number of jobless people in the nation has risen from 7.7 million to 15.3 million, BLS figures showed.
Other healthcare highlights include:
The BLS information is considered preliminary and may be revised.