Although U.S. hospitals struggled as of late to add jobs, the sector had a mini breakout during the month of August, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Total overall employment at hospitals stood at a seasonally adjusted 4.8 million people. But hospital hiring was just part of a jobs bonanza for the entire healthcare sector during the month of August, which added a seasonally adjusted 34,000 jobs--42,700 jobs when related social assistance positions are included. In fact, every single sector of healthcare delivery added jobs.
The biggest generator of jobs was ambulatory care, which added 22,800 positions. Physician offices hired 7,800. Nursing facilities hired the fewest--about 600 in all, according to the BLS, although nursing positions in general grew by about 4,100.
It has been a tough time for hospital hiring--the sector added no new jobs at all last year, although healthcare as a whole added more than 200,000 positions. And from December to February, hospitals cut 10,000 jobs in all. Hospitals operating in the 23 states that declined to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act have been hit hardest of all, with many cutting jobs and some even closing their doors altogether.
The jobs generated by healthcare are in contrast to the U.S. economy as a whole. The recovery from the Great Recession that began in late 2007 was the slowest in 70 years, according to the Heritage Foundation. It concluded that the drop in unemployment over the past five years is "almost entirely due to the fact that those not looking for work do not count as unemployed." And overall, 6.9 million fewer Americans participate in the workforce than before 2007.