In a shift, hospitals added new jobs last month

Hospitals added nearly 7,000 to the payrolls during the month of May after a period of stagnation, while overall employment increased by the low five figures over the past year.

Hospitals added a seasonally adjusted 6,900 jobs during the month of May, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The total number of workers employed by hospitals stood at 4.803 million. That compares to 4.79 million in May 2013, a gain of 11,000 jobs over the past year.

Without the seasonal adjustments, hospitals added 9,100 jobs between May and April and 11,300 between last month and May 2013, according to the data, a break from the overall 2013 trend, when hospitals added no jobs at all, even though the entire healthcare sector grew by 204,000 positions last year. Overall, some 41,000 healthcare employees were laid off in 2013.

For the entire healthcare sector, the number of jobs created between May 2013 and last month ticked up a seasonally adjusted 218,600. Nursing care facilities were the only category surveyed by the BLS that did not add jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. They declined by 14,000 positions, down to 1.652 million last month compared to a year ago. However, the sector added 5,000 jobs between April and May of this year.

The healthcare sector has added jobs to the U.S. economy for 131 consecutive months, according to Business Insider. The last time it shed any jobs was in July 2003, years before the Great Recession descended and eliminated millions of jobs, although there has been conflicting data regarding that trend.

Many experts credit the relatively sluggish job growth as of late to reimbursements cuts in the Medicare program and a refocus to try and make healthcare delivery more cost-effective.

To learn more:
- check out the BLS data
- here's the Business Insider article