Hospital employment grew by 2,900 jobs in May, per the preliminary numbers. That's up from a loss of 1,400 jobs in April, a number the BLS revised up from a much steeper loss. The government revised its total healthcare employment total to a gain of 8,100 in April. Its preliminary report showed the industry shed thousands of jobs that month.
Nursing homes, the sector hardest hit by the pandemic, added an estimated 1,000 jobs in May. That's after shedding almost 18,000 jobs in April.
Residential mental health facilities contracted by an estimated 2,500 jobs in May, and community care facilities for the elderly lost 300 jobs.
The BLS data show more people are returning to offices. In May, 16.6% of employed people worked remotely because of the pandemic, down from 18.3% in the prior month.
Total nonfarm employment in May was still down 5% from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. The biggest gains were in leisure and hospitality, which added 292,000 jobs as pandemic-related restrictions continue to lift. Almost two-thirds of that increase was in food services and drinking places. Educational services added 40,700 jobs as in-person learning resumes.