312,400 healthcare jobs added in May; hospital job losses continue

Healthcare added 312,400 jobs in May, primarily in ambulatory healthcare services, while job losses at hospitals continued, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The May count compares to 43,000 healthcare jobs lost in March and 1.4 million healthcare jobs lost in April

Within ambulatory healthcare services, May job gains included offices of dentists (244,800), offices of physicians (51,300), and offices of other healthcare practitioners (73,100).

Other areas of healthcare continued to experience job losses. Hospitals lost 26,700 jobs last month, compared to the 134,900 positions they lost in April. Nursing and residential care facilities lost 36,600 jobs last month.

The May jobs report marks the first month that healthcare employment grew since the beginning of the pandemic. In the 12 months prior to March — the month the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 spread a pandemic — industry employment had grown by 374,000, according to the bureau.

Overall, the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs in May after losing close to 21 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent, compared to 14.7 percent in April, according to the bureau. The bureau noted, however, a "misclassification error" in the unemployment count during the pandemic, saying the "overall unemployment rate [for May] would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported" without the error, according to The Washington Post. Still, the newspaper reported that would be an improvement from about 19.7 percent for April, using the same standards.

In a news release, the Labor Department said improvements "reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it."

This story was updated at 7:25 a.m. CDT on June 8.


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