Got a job while Obama was president? Then there’s a good chance you are working in healthcare or food service or as a temp.
Those sectors were responsible more than 60% of the jobs created since Obama took office in January 2009.
How much of a role any president plays in job creation during his administration is up for debate. One thing is for certain, though. It’s the service sector — particularly healthcare and food workers — that’s been fueling job growth in recent years.
Healthcare now employs 14.9 million Americans, up 11% over the past six years, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. More than one in 10 payroll jobs in the U.S. are in this industry.
Much of the job growth in healthcare has taken place in home health care services and outpatient care. That follows both the aging of America and the shift away from more costly hospital and nursing home care. These later two industries added only 3.7% and 1.2% more jobs, respectively, since 2009.
More recently, Obamacare has fueled a surge in healthcare spending and employment, said Katherine Hempstead, a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Last year’s expansion of coverage — thanks to the opening of the Obamacare insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid in many states — has prompted many healthcare providers to boost their staffs.
Health care clinics, which have been multiplying in many locales, are expected to continue growing, Hempstead said.
People are “finding them to be more convenient and they are delivering better and better service,” she said.
Meanwhile, bars, restaurants and other food-service employers have also been adding to their payrolls. More than 10.8 million people now work in this industry, up 14.6% over the past six years.
And temporary help agencies saw their employment soar 52.5% during the Obama administration to just under 3 million.
On the flip side, construction workers and government employees have lost their jobs in droves, though these sectors are coming back.
Hundreds of thousands of teachers, state workers and local government employees were given pink slips over the past six years. These sectors are slowly adding to their ranks once again.
Construction, specifically specialty trade contractors who work in skilled jobs such as ironwork, plumbing or excavation, were the biggest losers during Obama’s term. It has shed nearly 320,000 positions, bottoming out in January 2011 at 3.4 million employees.
By the time Obama took office, the construction industry was in the midst of a 4.5-year slide, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, a construction trade group.
Since then, both the industry as a whole and specialty workers have seen a rebound. Simonson expects it to continue in 2015, fueled by residential and private-sector, non-residential construction. Skilled workers, meanwhile, are in demand.
“It’s really hard to find experienced construction workers who are still sitting at home,” Simonson said.