Hospitals shed 1,900 jobs in July, added 5,700 jobs in June, and shed 1,400 jobs in May, after creating 15,900 jobs in the first four months of the year.
The sector reported 92,600 payroll additions in the first 10 months of 2008.
The healthcare sector—everything from hospitals, to chiropractors' offices, blood and organ donor banks, to walk-in clinics—added 24,100 jobs in October, and employed 13.8 million people that month. Healthcare has been one of the few areas of steady job growth during the recession and sputtering recovery, creating an average of 21,000 jobs each month, and 203,400 jobs in the first 10 months of 2010.
Healthcare created 215,300 jobs in 2009, and 738,000 jobs since the recession began in December 2007, BLS data show.
Job growth in the healthcare sector continues to be powered by ambulatory services, which accounted for 13,000 payroll additions in October, and 127,900 payroll additions in the first 10 months of 2010. Nursing and residential care facilities reported 6,000 payroll additions in October, and physicians' offices reported 2,700 payroll additions, BLS preliminary data show.
The larger economy gained 151,000 jobs in October, as the nation's jobless rate held at 9.6%. Since December 2009 nonfarm employment has increased by 847,000 jobs. However, 14.8 million people were unemployed in October, and 6.2 million of them were long-term unemployed who had been without a job for at least 27 weeks, BLS preliminary data show.