Healthcare had the most job gains of any industry in December, adding 43,000 positions, according to a report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ambulatory health services jobs rose by 30,000, while hospitals added 11,000 workers.
The gains keep healthcare in line with a pattern of strong job growth - the industry added an average of 35,000 jobs each month in 2016, compared to a monthly average of 39,000 jobs in 2015, BLS noted.
Nursing jobs have also been on the rise, with BLS predicting that the employment rate for nurses will increase 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to Nurse.com.
"There are more opportunities than ever for nurses right now," said nurse recruiter at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, Mary Jane Randazzo. "Hospitals are creating roles for nurses in areas such as transplant coordination, urgent care, ambulatory care, clinical documentation and care coordination."
Since 2014, nursing salaries have increased by an average of 2.6 percent per year. In 2015, the average salary of a registered nurse was $79,000, with positions at outpatient care centers earning the highest median annual wages, data from the BLS showed.