Daily Briefing Blog

Health care's amazing jobs growth, in 19 charts

Dan Diamond, Managing Editor

There's a stark visual that never ceases to amazes me: The graph of health care jobs growth in America.

But thanks to the New York Times' fantastic new blog, The Upshot, there's now something even more amazing: Many graphs of health care jobs growth.

In a new interactive visual, The Upshot team broke down the nation's job market, industry by industry, to see how the recession shaped each sector.

To have some contrast, here's how a different sector—Finance—looks. (You can click to expand any of the following charts.)

As The Upshot's charts show, some areas within finance have been quite hot, like financial processing and working with investments. But across the broader finance industry, several subsectors were hard hit by the recession and have yet to recover.

So with that grounding, here's The Upshot's similar picture of how the health care industry has changed since 2004.

Notice something? Every. Single. Subsector. Has. Grown. And in most cases, that growth has been dramatic. Jobs in home health and at outpatient care centers are booming. Doctors' offices have been consistently adding jobs, too. (Hat tip to Vox's Adrianna McIntyre for making a similar observation.)

That's not so different from what we've reported on in the Daily Briefing. In fact, the overall health care sector hasn't had a single down month since July 2003. Here's the latest version of our regular chart, which we'll update after the May 2014 jobs numbers are released on Friday.

The bigger difference that our chart displays is that, once you get month-by-month, some nuanced developments within the industry start to become more apparent. For instance, last year was a relatively slow one for health care, raising questions over whether the industry's amazing run of jobs growth had finally peaked. (Most likely, it hasn't.)

And when you get deeper into monthly changes within health care's sub-sectors, you can really see the impact of the economy. Hospital jobs growth was hard hit by the recession and has basically flatlined in the past year.

There are a range of theories for why hospital jobs growth has slowed after recovering post-recession. (For instance, that care delivery is increasingly focused in other settings, or that mega-mergers have had a chilling effect.)

But one broader takeaway from these charts is this: When the biggest financial crisis in 80 years doesn't seem to shake your industry—when the worst impact is that a subsector like hospitals merely stopped hiring—it's the sign of an amazingly resilient industry.

Go deeper: See how health care is changing

Our HR Advancement Center has been tracking labor trends within the health care industry. Here's some of the center's latest analysis on the labor market, and what it means for providers:

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