- The healthcare industry added 23,000 jobs in May, with virtually all in ambulatory service roles, according to a new government jobs report released Friday.
- Ambulatory services added 22,000 jobs that month. And hospitals saw their first gains in several months, posting about 2,900 new roles, according to the preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nursing homes lost about the same amount of jobs, adding to the sustained losses seen throughout the pandemic.
- Employment in the sector is still down about 508,000 jobs compared with February 2020.
Healthcare employment is still working its way back to pre-pandemic levels, but at a slower clip than experts hoped. After losing about 4,000 jobs in April, May’s addition of 23,000 jobs is welcome, though some sectors are driving the recovery more than others.
Ambulatory service jobs led the pack last month and make up a large chunk of healthcare jobs overall, posting 7.8 million jobs overall in May, versus 7.85 million in January of 2020. Ambulatory service jobs include those in doctors and dentists offices as well as outpatient and home health care, according to BLS' definition.
Overall, the healthcare sector employs about 16 million people.
Hospitals added jobs for the first time in months, though not nearly as many as ambulatory services. Hospitals now have about 5.15 million jobs, compared with 5.23 million in January 2020.
Early evidence suggests some shortages and trouble finding talent as an exhausted workforce pivots to post-pandemic life, with a number of hospital systems recently posting steep sign-on bonuses to attract the nurses they need.
Across all industries, the U.S. added about 559,000 jobs in May, sending the unemployment rate down slightly from 6.1% in April to 5.8% in May.
In January 2020 before the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate was 3.6%.