Health Care Industry Added 43K Jobs in December

The health care industry added 43,000 jobs in December, extending a streak of monthly employment gains in the sector dating back to January 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

In November, the sector added almost 31,000 workers to payrolls. For 2016 as a whole, the health care industry added 407,000 jobs, according to BLS.

Overall, the U.S. economy added fewer jobs in December, compared with the previous month, and the unemployment rate increased. Employers added 156,000 workers to payrolls last month, after adding 204,000 in November, while the jobless rate rose to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent.

The White House on Friday characterized the monthly employment as “eight years of labor market progress” under President Barack Obama. The administration has credited the 2010 Affordable Care Act with contributing to consistent job growth in recent years.

As congressional Republicans initiate efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a report released Thursday by the independent Commonwealth Fund warned that a repeal of the law could lead to a loss of 2.6 million jobs in 2019. The report projects that one-third of those jobs would come from the health care industry.

Briefings

Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulled legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon after GOP leaders and the White House failed to cobble together enough support from the conservative and moderate wings of their party. In an astounding moment, the Wisconsin Republican conceded that Obamacare, which Republicans have campaigned on repealing since its inception, would remain the law of the land for the “foreseeable future.”

Health Brief: GOP Announces Changes to Health Care Bill

House GOP leaders made tweaks to their Obamacare replacement legislation aimed at bolstering Republican support, but many skeptical conservatives remain opposed to the plan. The changes include giving states more flexibility with their Medicaid programs, phasing out Obamacare taxes sooner and increasing tax credits to help older Americans afford health insurance.

Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan got a boost Friday when leaders of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House GOP, announced their support after the White House agreed to an amendment package that would give states the choice to block grant Medicaid rather than receive a per capita cap, and maintain work requirements for some program enrollees.

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