The healthcare sector--and hospitals in particular-- had a boost in hiring in recent months, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hospitals added 11,800 jobs during the month of April. That's about a quarter of the sector's 45,200 jobs that were added during the month. For the first time, the healthcare sector now employs more than 15 million people in the United States, or about 10.7 percent of the total nonfarm workforce.
Altogether, hospitals now employ 4.85 million people nationwide. They added 10,000 jobs in the month of March and 93,200 over the past year, according to the data.
Every single niche in healthcare added jobs in April. The biggest job creator in healthcare for April was ambulatory surgical centers--they created 25,300 jobs or more than half of the overall total for the sector. Over the past year, that niche in healthcare has added 257,000 jobs and now employs 6.85 million.
Physician offices, which have tended to lag the sector in job creation, added 9,300 jobs in April and nearly 87,000 over the past year. They even topped skilling nursing facilities, which added 8,100 jobs last month and 42,000 jobs over the past year. Outpatient care facilities added 3,400 jobs for the month and 32,200 jobs over the past year.
The overall job growth is a significant improvement from just a couple of years ago. Hospitals added no new jobs in 2013 and reported the slowest job growth in more than a quarter of century. In December 2013, the healthcare sector actually lost 6,000 jobs, the first time in more than a decade that had occurred.
Job growth in the healthcare sector took off after the second quarter of last year, according to a recent report from the Altarum Institute. The sector averaged 30,000 new jobs per month, more than double the average of 13,300 jobs per month that were created in 2013 and just 11,600 per month created during the first quarter of 2014.