Healthcare gains 39,400 jobs in July
Healthcare hiring rose at a sizzling 39,400 jobs in July, marking the second straight month that job growth surpassed the white-hot average monthly gain of 32,000 last year.
The July hiring binge by hospitals and clinics happened even as the Senate debated most of the month on different plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dramatically scale back Medicaid funding.
A final repeal bill failed by a narrow 51-49 vote in the Senate on July 27.
Hiring in ambulatory care centers led the way in July, adding 30,000 jobs.
And though admissions have flattened in recent months, as evidenced by the second-quarter earnings releases of investor-owned hospital giants HCA, Community Health Systems and LifePoint Health, hospitals added 7,300 jobs in July.
The healthcare sector joined a broad-based surge of hiring for the month. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday identified an increase of 209,000 non-farm jobs nationally in July, beating an analyst consensus forecast of 180,000.
The national unemployment rate fell to 4.3%.
The July healthcare hiring surge followed a strong gain in June of 36,600 jobs, the statistics show. In July, the labor department slightly revised up the June numbers by 100 jobs.
Before the hiring jump in June and July, hiring in 2017 had muddled along at about a 24,000 monthly average. Healthcare economists pointed to the cloud in Washington over the possible repeal of the ACA as a factor.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Senate bills being debated would cause about 20 million people to lose their insurance and slash Medicaid budgets whose expansion is largely responsible for a burst of newly insured since 2010.
But healthcare providers expanding especially the number of ambulatory centers and clinics they operate have pushed past the political turmoil to hire workers to serve an ever-growing number of seniors needing care.
Home healthcare agencies did the most hiring among providers in July, bringing aboard 11,300 more employees.
Outpatient centers and hospitals tied as the next biggest hirers, each adding 7,300 jobs in July.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.