Healthcare added 19,400 jobs last month, as the overall economy increased hiring by 192,000 and unemployment held steady at 6.7%.
The new preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a continued trend of anemic job growth among hospitals, which face pressure from public and private insurers to prevent avoidable admissions, while healthcare consumers continue to struggle in a weak economy. Hospitals reported weak to declining admissions, ratings analysts said.
Hospital employment grew by 4,000 jobs, or 0.1%, last month. Revised figures for February showed employment growth of 3,300 rather than the 1,200 loss previously reported. Still, hospital job growth in the preliminary March and February figures follow two months of job losses that totaled 8,700 jobs. And hospitals added just 3,700 jobs for the year ending in March, compared with 18,300 jobs in the previous 12-month period and 72,200 the year before.