Nationally, healthcare added 15,700 new jobs in May, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, continuing a slowdown that began in April.
Hiring in healthcare has been on the rise fairly consistently since about midway through 2017, but May hiring was down 42 percent from May and 69 percent from March. Ultimately the jobs total was the lowest since September 2017.
Although hiring in healthcare has slowed, the trend has been positive overall, with the industry adding about 391,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
The ambulatory sector lead the charge with 78 percent of all healthcare job growth, adding 12,200 jobs in May -- which is still down 29 percent from April. Physicians' offices, by contrast, added 7,900 jobs during the month, a 60 percent improvement over April.
Job gains in other health sub-sectors were anemic. Dentists' offices added 800 jobs; residential care facilities added 500 jobs; and outpatient care centers added just 200 jobs.
Other sub-sectors lost jobs, notably ambulatory healthcare services, which shed 500 jobs in May. Residential mental health facilities lost about 100 jobs, but that's an improvement over the whopping 1,400 jobs in the sector that were lost in April.
Hiring was flat in nursing care facilities and community care facilities for the elderly. Overall, healthcare added more jobs than the construction industry, which added only 4,000 jobs in May.
What a difference a few short months make. December 2018 was a record month for healthcare hiring, with 52,000 jobs added, and January wasn't far behind, with 42,000 more jobs added at the beginning of the year.
By the end of 2018, there were more than 16 million people working in healthcare, including 7.6 million people in ambulatory services and 5.2 million in hospitals.