Healthcare employment up 58K in October but recovery remains sluggish

The healthcare industry added 58,000 jobs in October but employment in the healthcare sector has cooled since this summer, according to the latest job numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report released on Friday showed some gains for hospitals and physician offices. But nursing and assisted living facilities continued to lose jobs, shedding 9,000 positions last month.

The report found job increases for hospitals of 16,000 new jobs and 14,000 new positions for physician offices.

Dentist offices also gained 11,000 new jobs. Outpatient care centers added 10,000 new positions, the report said.

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The healthcare industry was hit hard at the onset of the pandemic in March when hospitals were forced to cancel or postpone elective procedures to preserve capacity to fight COVID-19. Doctor and dentist offices were forced to close except for emergencies and patient volumes plummeted.

The bureau reported that healthcare jobs declined by 1.4 million in April, with dentist offices leading the way with job losses of 503,000. That followed losses of about 43,000 healthcare jobs in March.

The industry started to add jobs again in May with 312,000 new jobs added. June also saw a big increase of 358,000 jobs.

But since June the healthcare employment has cooled off. The industry added 126,000 jobs in July and 75,000 in August.

Last month, the sector added 53,000 new jobs.