Most of the job losses among nursing and residential-care facilities occurred in nursing homes. From March 2014 to March 2015, nursing homes cut 400 jobs, the only healthcare sector in which employment has dropped year over year.
A majority of job gains—19,200 in March—continued to come from ambulatory providers. Physician offices added 6,100 jobs, while home-health services boosted their payrolls by 6,000 workers. Outpatient centers added 3,300 jobs. Employment across all ambulatory care sites increased by roughly 253,000 jobs in the past 12 months.
The Affordable Care Act has prompted more healthcare providers to invest in the outpatient setting as more patients seek affordable care closer to home. The University of Minnesota School of Nursing, for example, is opening the state's first nurse-led outpatient clinic next week. These types of care delivery arrangements have led to higher demand for nurses and physician extenders in particular.
“There are so many (nursing) jobs out there right now, it's unbelievable,” said Kyle Mattice, president of health services at recruitment firm ExecuSearch Group. “A nurse with two years of experience, they're going to get really any type of job they want.”
Patient navigators, care coordinators and other ancillary positions also have been in high demand among his clients, Mattice added.
Hospitals continued to produce steady employment last month, adding 7,900 jobs, a 0.2% increase from February. More than 77,000 hospital jobs were created between March 2014 and March 2015.
Overall U.S. employment increased by 126,000 in March. The national unemployment rate stayed the same at 5.5%.