The chart above (click to enlarge) shows the annual percent growth in monthly employment (from the same month in the previous year) since 2004, comparing growth in the health care sector to the growth in overall total employment. Even during the recession, health care employment continues to grow at almost 3% annually, and there was an increase of 371,600 health care jobs in 2008. In contrast, overall job growth has been negative and falling since mid-2008, with a total job loss in 2008 of almost 2.6 million.
One reason for the continuing growth in health care employment might be provided in this story: "As Retail-Based Clinics Grow, So Do Jobs for Specialty Nurses":
The proliferation of health clinics in retail stores has created hundreds of job opportunities for advanced nurse practitioners — a primary-care specialty whose ranks are growing at a time when the number of family doctors continues to decline.
“I love the concept,” said advanced nurse practitioner Marina Ordiner said. “I think it’s the model of the future. It’s convenient, it’s affordable.” What she likes best is having the ability to spend more time with patients.