Healthcare employment soared through end of 2018

The healthcare industry took the lead as the largest employer in the United States in 2018, with high rates of job growth continuing through the end of the year, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the national unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December, job gains were made in healthcare, among other industries. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 during the month.

The healthcare sector added 50,000 jobs in December. Ambulatory healthcare services gained 38,000 jobs while hospitals gained 7,000. For the year, the healthcare industry added 346,000 jobs, well above the gain of 284,000 jobs in 2017.

The data underscores the rising demand for healthcare professionals in the United States. Physicians saw a 7 percent increase in job growth in 2018 from the previous year, according to a recent study.