Health Care: A Growth Industryby Denise Early on Aug. 27, 2012, under Health
With all the debate and uncertainty surrounding health care in the United States, you would think this would not be a growth industry. You would be wrong.
“Compared to the rest of the economy, health care seems to exist in an alternate economic universe”, according to an article in Health Affairs, a scholarly journal. The article says that despite the recession and fewer people seeking medical care, millions of health care jobs have been added since 2007.
According to the article by Jeff Goldsmith:
During the first four years of the recession (May 2007 to May 2011), the US health system, despite slowing or declining utilization, added 1.149 million workers.
The fastest growing hospital job occupations: “management” (roughly 14 percent); business and financial operations (roughly 12 percent); and “computer and mathematical” (roughly 18 percent). Clerical employment actually declined, suggesting a shift to automated business operations (and a more complex, higher salaried workforce).
Hospitals employed 18,000 more physicians, as well as more nurses (117,000), technicians and technologists (almost 35,000) and therapists (12,000) — all on declining core volume.
Physician office visit volume in the US leveled off in 2005, and has declined by roughly 10 percent since mid 2009, according to IMS Health. Despite these declines in activity, physician offices added 165,000 workers, of which half were professionals. Again, the most rapidly growing job category was “management”, but physician offices added 47,000 nursing and clinical support workers (technologists, therapists, etc.).
Home health care employment, the fastest growing sector, grew by almost 220,000 workers, an astonishing 24 percent increase in just four years.
Outpatient care centers (freestanding imaging, surgical, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.) added 106,000 workers, a 21 percent increase.
“Community care facilities for the elderly” — such as assisted living facilities — added almost 108,000 workers, a near 17 percent increase.
“Offices of Other Health Practitioners” — physical therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, etc. — added almost 100,000 new workers, more than a 16 percent increase.