Hospital hiring continues to rouse itself from its slumber, with another 3,500 jobs added to payrolls in October, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 25,200 more people are working at the nation's hospitals than they were a year ago, for a total of about 4.8 million hospital employees.
However, ambulatory healthcare services is where the biggest hiring boom is occurring in healthcare. That sector added 18,500 jobs in October, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the healthcare positions created. Home healthcare services created about 7,400 new jobs.
By contrast, outpatient care services created no new jobs, while nursing home facilities cut about 700 positions in total.
The Altarum Health Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending found the average monthly job gain in healthcare over the past six months has been 26,500--up from 17,500 per month between March 2013 and March 2014. Over the past year, the number of new jobs added in the healthcare sector reached 256,200, according to Altarum. Ambulatory services were the biggest contributor, adding 33,000 jobs overall.
The turnaround in job growth comes as the sector, particularly hospitals, had created few new jobs in recent years, perhaps in anticipation of what the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would bring. For example, hospitals created no new jobs at all last year, according to Altarum--one of the slowest periods of hiring since the 1980s.
However, as the number of uninsured has dropped as the result of last year's ACA rollout, hospitals and other providers appear more willing to make hiring decisions.
"Solid continued growth seems likely, as the August job openings rate of 4.3 percent in healthcare and social assistance is the highest since before the recession," Altarum remarked in its jobs report.