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National unemployment report shows job gains in health care for March

News
Article

Political leaders comment on health care developments under Biden, Trump administrations.

newspaper headline unemployment: © Zerbor - stock.adobe.com

© Zerbor - stock.adobe.com

Health care added 72,300 jobs in March, accounting for more than 20% of jobs that employers added last month, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 303,000 jobs in March, with the national unemployment rate changing little at 3.8%, according to the figures published April 5, 2024. The BLS report noted unemployment has been in the range of 3.7% to 3.9% since August 2023.

The health care gains topped the average monthly increase of 60,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Ambulatory health services added 27,500 jobs to lead the health care sector. Hospitals followed with 27,100 new jobs, while nursing and residential care facilities employment grew by 17,700 workers, according to the BLS figures.

Home health care services added 11,700 jobs. Growth was slower in medical offices, with physicians’ offices adding 5,100 jobs and offices of other health practitioners hiring 4,100 workers. Outpatient care centers grew by 3,800 and other ambulatory health care services added 1,700 employees. Offices of dentists added 800 staff, and medical and diagnostic laboratories hired 400 workers.

Other sectors

Other sectors posting gains included government, which grew by 71,000 jobs to exceed the average monthly gain of 54,000 over the last year. That included 49,000 new local government jobs added in March.

Construction increased by 39,000 jobs for the month, more than double the average monthly gain of 19,000 jobs in the prior 12 months. Leisure and hospitality added 49,000 workers, returning to the pre-pandemic level of February 2020 and topping the monthly average of 37,000 in the last year.

In retail trades, general merchandise retailers added 20,000 jobs, but the BLS report said that was partially offset by losses of 10,000 workers in building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, and 3,000 jobs lost in automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers.

Political reaction

President Joe Biden published a statement noting the addition of 303,000 jobs added to the tally of more than 15 million new positions created since he took office.

“My plan is growing the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, investing in all Americans, and giving the middle class a fair shot,” the president’s statement said. “Unemployment has been under 4% for the longest stretch in more than 50 years. Wages are going up. Inflation has come down significantly.”

This week, the president also remarked on the administration’s actions on health care, including “taking on Big Pharma in the most significant ways ever.” Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other advanced nation in the world, the president said. He mentioned the insulin price caps that have gone into effect for seniors and drug price negotiations for Medicare.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley issued a statement on the president’s remarks on health care, citing better conditions under President Donald Trump.

“While Americans enjoyed lower prescription drug prices and historic cost transparency under President Trump, Biden’s healthcare dream is a nightmare for families across the country,” Whatley said. “Biden has tried to cut Medicare Advantage for seniors and allowed deadly fentanyl to flood our communities, all while forcing taxpayers to foot the $182 billion health care bill for illegal immigrants.”

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