Steady hiring in healthcare added 33,600 jobs last month, an increase of 0.2%, as ambulatory-care employment swelled by 23,100, a monthly gain that easily exceeds average monthly job growth for the sector. Hospitals saw hiring continue to rebound after shedding jobs last winter, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Healthcare's continued job growth added 218,700 jobs during the 12 months that ended in May, for growth of 2%, and brought the sector's total employment to 14.7 million. Across the economy, employers added 217,000 jobs in May, which Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, welcomed as a “solid report.” The preliminary May hiring figures mark the fourth month in a row that employment growth exceeded 200,000 jobs, he noted. It's a trend not seen in more than 14 years, Shepherdson added. The federal data showed no change to the unemployment rate at 6.3%.
Ambulatory care's strong job gains last month, a roughly 0.3% increase, brought hiring to 6.6 million workers. During the year that ended in May, ambulatory care added 179,200 jobs for growth of 2.8%. Physician offices added 3,600 jobs, an increase of 0.1%, to bring the subsector's employment to 2.5 million. Hiring increased physician-office payrolls by 53,800 jobs during the year that ended last month, an increase of 2.2%.
Hospitals added 6,900 jobs, for growth of 0.1%, to increase hospital employment to 4.8 million. The gains follow three steady months of job growth after hospitals shed 8,700 jobs in December and January. Hospital hiring slumped last year, shedding 500 jobs. For the year that ended in May, hospitals added 11,100 jobs, an increase of 0.2%. Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans