Growth in ambulatory services like physicians' offices and outpatient clinics comprised most of the seasonally adjusted nearly 30,000 jobs added to the healthcare sector in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's compared with 228,000 overall jobs added in November.
Those gains weren't enough to move the unemployment rate, however, which remains at 4.1%, or 6.6 million people, the BLS reported in its monthly update released Friday. Employment continues to grow in professional and business services, manufacturing and health care.
Hospitals added 2,200 jobs between October and November. The biggest growth area in healthcare, though, was ambulatory health services, which added 25,300 jobs, including 6,800 in physicians' offices and 6,900 in home healthcare. Demand for outpatient services is growing as technology increasingly allows services that once required inpatient hospital stays to be performed in outpatient settings. Patients, now expected to pay larger proportions of their medical bills than in years past, are also turning to less expensive outpatient care.
Social assistance, which includes individual and family services, emergency and other relief services, vocational rehabilitation and day care services, also saw significant growth, adding 11,000 jobs. Nursing and residential care facilities added 2,000 jobs.
The one sector within health care that lost jobs was community care facilities for the elderly, which shrunk by 100 jobs.