- The healthcare industry hired another 15,700 employees in May, bringing the total of new jobs added over the past 12 months to 391,000.
- The gains were largely thanks to the ambulatory sector, which added 12,200 jobs last month and accounted for 78% of total healthcare job growth. Physician offices alone added 7,900 jobs and other outpatient healthcare practices added 2,700. Medical and diagnostic labs added 1,100 jobs and dental offices added 800.
- Nonetheless, employment growth is tepid at best. The month of May had 42% fewer hires than in April, and almost 70% fewer than in March, according to the newest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployment remains historically low, hovering at around 3.6% compared to 9.4% in May a decade ago at the height of the recession. However, though the U.S. economy is strong currently, May's job creation numbers coasted in below economists' expectations amid slowing global growth and trade tensions with Mexico, China and the European Union.
Like all other industries, healthcare is weathering the effects of a lukewarm economy, adding less than 16,000 new jobs last month — the weakest growth since September 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But healthcare remains attractive to new entrants for a variety of reasons, with healthcare positions snagging 44 out of 100 slots in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Jobs list in January due to high salaries and strong job security. Physician pay alone has grown 20% since 2015, although healthcare industry wages as a whole have remained largely flat due in part to rampant industry consolidation among providers.
Hospitals reported some small employment increases in May, netting 3,000 additional jobs.
The home health industry added no new hires in May and other assorted ambulatory healthcare services actually lost roughly 500 jobs. Outpatient care centers added 200 jobs last month.
Nursing and residential care facilities' job growth also was stuck in the mud last month. Nursing homes and community care facilities for the elderly added no new jobs, and residential mental health facilities actually lost 100 jobs (though that figure's far lower than the 1,400 that were lost in April).
Remaining types of residential care facilities added 500 jobs.
However, healthcare hiring was stronger than almost all other industries, including construction, which added only 4,000 jobs in May. Mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, hospitality and transportation saw little change over the past month, although professional and business services was the outlier with 33,000 new hires.