Healthcare sector jobs increase by 312K in May thanks to dentists' offices

The hotel industry has struggled with a growing pool of open positions and high turnover as the U.S. unemployment rate hovers around 4 percent.
The healthcare sector earned 312,000 more jobs in May compared to April, a bright spot for the sector hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Getty Images/artisteer)

The healthcare sector earned 312,000 more jobs in May compared to the month before, with dentist offices representing the largest increase.

The numbers released, Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, come as the healthcare sector seeks to recover from a financial crisis spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall the healthcare sector grew to 15.2 million jobs, up from 14.9 million in May and 16 million in April. The biggest reason for the change was due to dentist's offices, where jobs increased by 244,000 compared to April.

Physician office jobs increased by 51,000 compared to April. Physician offices have been hit hard by rapid declines in patient volume due to the pandemic.

RELATED: Health systems find relief payments only cover one week of lost revenue: survey

But hospital employment declined by 26,000 in May. Some major hospital systems have been forced to furlough and lay off staff due to low patient volume and the cancellation of surgical procedures at the onset of the pandemic back in March.

Some hospital systems have slowly started to resume elective procedures canceled or delayed, but they must meet stringent requirements on testing and infection control to protect patients and staff from COVID-19.

Nursing care facilities also lost 36,000 jobs from April to May. The Trump administration announced that 32,000 nursing home residents have died due to COVID-19 and that it will update the Nursing Home Compare website with infections and deaths for each facility.

Congress has allocated $175 billion to providers to help get through the crisis, but provider groups have been calling for more due to the major drop in revenue.