Related BLS programs | Related articles
April 2011, Vol. 134, No. 4
Employment in health care: a crutch for the ailing economy during the 2007–09 recession
Catherine A. Wood
Catherine A. Wood is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics. E-mail: email@example.com
During the last recession, employment in the health care industry grew while total nonfarm employment was down by more than 7.5 million; although growth in health care was not as robust as in the previous two recessions, the industry still gained 428,000 jobs
The health care industry added 428,000 jobs throughout the 18-month recession from December 2007 until June 2009 and has continued to grow at a steady rate since the end of the recession. 1 Historically, health care employment has been immune from fluctuations in the business cycle, as shown by the industry’s continued growth throughout previous recessions. Indeed, the industry has been among the leading contributors to overall job growth during recessions. In an economy hit with more than 7.5 million job losses, a national unemployment rate that rose to 10 percent in October 2009, and large declines in gross domestic product (GDP), all since the start of the most recent recession, the health care industry stood out as one of a few areas that continued adding jobs, thereby serving as a crutch for the ailing economy.
Download full article in PDF
1 The data on employment used in this article are from the CES survey, which is a monthly survey of approximately 140,000 nonfarm businesses and government agencies representing approximately 440,000 individual worksites. For more information on the CES program’s methods, see “Technical Notes to Establishment Survey Data Published in Employment and Earnings” at www.bls.gov//web/empsit/cestn2.htm (visited Apr. 21, 2011). CES data are available at www.bls.gov/ces/ (visited Apr. 21, 2011). The CES data used in this article are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise noted.
Recessions are identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). According to the NBER, the most recent recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. The previous two recessions were from March 2001 to November 2001 and from July 1990 to March 1991. For a complete list of business cycle dates, consult the NBER webpage at www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html (Apr. 21, 2011).
Current Employment Statistics
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers