According to BLS, the U.S. economy gained 528,000 jobs in July, largely led by increases in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care industries. The overall unemployment rate was 3.5%, matching its pre-pandemic level from February 2020.
The health care industry is still down 78,400 jobs, or 0.48%, since before the pandemic. However, health care employers gained an estimated 69,600 jobs in July, accounting for 13.3% of all new hires in the economy.
Overall, ambulatory care providers, a category that includes several provider types, saw the largest increase in jobs in July at 47,300. In addition, nursing and residential care facilities added 9,400 jobs, and physicians' offices added 12,800 jobs.
The two health care subsectors that lost jobs in July were other ambulatory services, which reported 400 fewer jobs than in June, and other residential care facilities, which reported 300 fewer jobs.
Meanwhile, hospitals added 12,900 jobs in July, down from 20,500 jobs gained in June and 16,300 gained in May.
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), hospital employment is still down more than 40,000 jobs from its peak in March 2020 but has grown in 19 of the past 28 months, suggesting a slow-but-steady recovery. While these new gains are promising, AHA said hospitals and health systems are still facing workforce pressures and high inflationary costs that will impact their job growth. (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 8/5; Hudson, Modern Healthcare, 8/5; AHA News, 8/5)
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