Healthcare hiring rebounded in April with 19,500 jobs added to the industry, a big lift over March in concert with a solid national jobs gain for the month.
The healthcare industry again was among the top national jobs generators in a month that saw the U.S. economy create 211,000 jobs.
That drove the national unemployment rate to a 10-year low of 4.4%, a figure that represents full employment. The 211,000 April jobs gain put a disappointing 79,000 gain in March in the rearview mirror.
The 19,500 healthcare hires in April moved total sector employment to 15.7 million. April's numbers far surpassed the 13,300 hires in March, an abnormally slow growth rate that the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually adjusted down by 200 jobs when it released its April data.
Healthcare hiring is on the rise despite the overhang of the proposed American Health Care Act, legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Analysts last month said the legislation had dampened March hiring on the premise that its passage would cause millions to lose their insurance.
A January report by the Commonwealth Fund found that repealing key provisions of the ACA, including the insurance premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion, could lead to 2.6 million people losing their jobs in 2019. By 2021, nearly 3 million jobs in healthcare and other sectors could be lost.
But healthcare providers pushed past those fears in April, hiring workers especially in ambulatory and home settings. Physician offices created 6,900 jobs and home health providers another 4,700, according to the bureau's jobs report. Hospitals hired 4,200 workers.
That was a reversal from March when hospitals produced the most jobs with 8,700 new positions compared to 6,800 in an ambulatory setting.
Despite the uncertainties under an ACA repeal, the industry still needs more workers to care for patients thanks to an aging population and a growing emphasis on early and preventative care, Fitch Ratings Managing Director Megan Neuburger said in March.