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Current Employment Statistics and the Ambulatory Health Care Industry

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is updating its sample in the Ambulatory Health Care Services industry for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. The CES survey produces monthly estimates of employment, hours, and earnings for the Nation, States, and major metropolitan areas; it is based on approximately 141,000 businesses and government agencies representing approximately 486,000 worksites throughout the United States.

Each month, CES employment data, together with the unemployment rate, are the first economic indicators of current labor market movements in the Nation. Similar estimates are available later in the month for each of the 50 states and hundreds of metropolitan areas. Periodic updates to industry samples are necessary to account for new firms, replace closed firms, and to reflect changes in items such as employer size and geographic employment concentrations. Selecting a new sample allows our estimates to accurately reflect changes in the structure of the Nation's economy and ensures that the highest-quality data are available for business decisions, State and local economic development, public policy research, and the advancement of America's workers. Data from the CES survey are used for a multitude of purposes including as inputs to economic gauges which measure:

  • The overall health of the economy (employment)
  • Earnings trends and wage-push inflation (average hourly earnings)
  • Short-term fluctuations in demand (average weekly hours)

In September 2012, the Ambulatory Health Care Services industry had 6,392,400 jobs, accounting for 4.8 percent of total U.S. nonfarm jobs. This industry is comprised of a host of health care providers including physicians' offices, dentists' offices, home health care agencies, and outpatient care centers. (See chart 1.) Employment in the industry increased 3.3 percent over the year, nearly double the 1.7-percent rate of expansion for all U.S. private industry jobs. (See chart 2.) Although annual increases in average hourly earnings for nonsupervisory workers have slowed in the last year, gains in the ambulatory health care industry continued to outpace those of total private nonfarm employment. (See chart 3.) For more information about workers in this industry at the national, state, and metropolitan area level contact any of the BLS Information Offices via

Additional information for CES survey respondents is located at