Healthcare remains a bright spot in an otherwise bleak employment outlook, adding 31,000 jobs in October, according to data released Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Much of the gains in healthcare jobs came from ambulatory healthcare services, which employed a seasonally adjusted 6,414,500 last month, up 24,900 from the month before.
Hospitals, meanwhile, employed a seasonally adjusted 4,839,000 individuals, 6,200 more workers than in September, according to the BLS.
However, employment at nursing and home care facilities dropped by 600 to 3,201,000 workers. Despite minimal nursing home job losses, healthcare saw employment rise by 296,000 during the past year.
Even during a sluggish economy, hospitals serve as a dependable source of jobs. For example, New Jersey hospitals employ 140,000 full-time and part-time workers, while North Dakota's community hospitals are the largest non-government employer with more than 21,500 full-time-equivalent employees, FierceHealthcare previously reported.
But not all hospital jobs are safe. In Illinois, some hospitals have been putting hundreds of jobs back on the chopping block to reduce labor expenses.
Moreover, 93 mass layoffs occurred in the first nine months of 2012, affecting 6,529 people, according to other BLS data. That puts the healthcare industry on track to see 124 mass layoffs, affecting about 8,700 people by the end of the year, American Medical News reported.
Healthcare employers say mass layoffs (defined as 50 or more people losing their jobs at one place in a single day), usually hit administrative workers and not clinical staff, amednews noted.