March 27, 2003
Health services hired more workers (270,000) than any other industry in 2002, as its employment grew 2.6 percent.
Aging baby-boomers, population growth, and technological advances generated increased demand for healthcare services. Hospitals accounted for the largest share of the job growth, with 113,000 hires, while offices and clinics of medical doctors added 63,000 workers to their payrolls.
Employment in hospitals grew 2.7 percent in 2002, compared with average annual growth of 1.6 percent from 1996 to 2001. This accelerated growth is likely linked to a loosening of labor markets in 2001 and 2002. Acute shortages of workers—in both specialized and nonspecialized occupations—have plagued the industry in recent years, but the recent overall weakening of the labor market has allowed them to reduce some shortages.
These data are from the Current Employment Statistics program. The above figures refer to fourth-quarter averages and are seasonally adjusted. Find out more about employment in 2002 in "U.S. labor market in 2002: continued weakness," by Terence M. McMenamin, Rachel Krantz, and Thomas J. Krolik, Monthly Labor Review, February 2003.