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Healthcare sector continues job growth trend, with 2019 surpassing prior year

The healthcare sector added just over 28,000 jobs in December 2019, slowing a bit from the second-highest mark of the year in November 2019, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BLS' monthly jobs report, published Jan. 10, showed that a total of 28,100 jobs were added in the last month of 2019. The healthcare sector added 398,800 jobs over 2019, beating 2018's figure by about 48,800, according to the data.

March 2019 and November 2019 were the year's strongest months, with 49,900 and 46,100 jobs added, respectively.

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Preliminary numbers for October 2019 and November 2019 were both revised upward in the latest report. October 2019's year-low of 11,900 was upped to 17,000, making May 2019's mark of 15,600 jobs the lowest figure of 2019. November 2019's figure was slightly increased from 45,200 to 46,100 jobs added.

As was the case throughout 2019, additions to ambulatory healthcare services fueled December 2019's growth. The subindustry added 23,100 jobs in the month, down from the 32,500 added in November 2019, according to BLS. The November 2019 figure was revised down for this subindustry from 33,900.

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Hospitals saw an increase of 8,800 jobs in December 2019. The subindustry's big rebound seen in November 2019 was even larger after the projection was revised up from an increase of 9,900 jobs to 11,900.

August 2019 was the strongest month in the year for hospitals, with the addition of 13,700 jobs, according to BLS. The slowest months for hospitals were May 2019 and July 2019, which had growth of just 2,800 and 2,100, respectively.

Nursing and residential care facilities was the only healthcare subindustry that declined in December 2019, with about 3,800 jobs lost. Nursing care's figure from November 2019 was revised upward from 1,400 jobs added to 1,700.

Overall, total nonfarm payroll rose by about 145,000 jobs in December 2019, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.5%, according to the report.