After a year of strong hiring growth in the healthcare industry, job creation significantly decelerated in August but still remained on the plus side.
The healthcare sector added 14,400 jobs in August, much less than the average 39,000 jobs added every month for the past 12 months, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (PDF). The BLS also released revised figures from July, showing 45,300 healthcare jobs were added that month, up from the 43,200 that were originally reported.
Hiring slowed down slightly among hospitals. Hospitals added 10,700 jobs in August, less than the 13,200 jobs added in July. The government initially reported hospitals added 17,100 in July.
New jobs in ambulatory care services also slackened. In August, that subsector added 12,900 jobs, compared with the revised 22,700 in July. Nursing and residential care facilities lost 9,200 jobs, offsetting the 9,400 hiring gain in July.
Outpatient care centers, which hospitals continue to build or acquire, added 3,100 jobs. Medical and diagnostic labs experienced another month of losses, trending down 200 jobs in August.
Despite the hiring slowdown, healthcare has been the dominant job driver throughout 2015 and 2016. In May, the healthcare sector added 46,000 jobs, far more than the disappointing 38,000 jobs created by the rest of the economy during that month.
The entire U.S. economy also experienced a decrease in hiring in August. About 151,000 jobs were added in August, less than the revised 275,000 added in July. The most significant hiring gains were made in the food services industry, with 34,000 jobs added in August.