Jobs Numbers In Health Sector Defy Recession, More Growth Expected
As most sectors of the economy shed jobs last month, health care companies continued to defy the pattern and hire more people in a trend that's spanned more than two years, Kaiser Health News reports. The main reason is that people are reluctant to skip health care services, even when times are tight, economists say. That factor, combined with an aging population allowed health care business to grow, albeit more slowly than normal, even as the broader economy flagged (Weaver, 1/8).
"Across the country, nearly half of the 30 fastest-growing occupations through 2018 are in health care, according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics," The Boston Globe reports. Many of the jobs don't require the extensive training needed for physicians and nurses. "At the top of the list of the nation's fastest-growing health care occupations is home health aide, which is projected to have a 50 percent growth in employment from 2008 to 2018." That job only requires a 15-week community college course to qualify (Chase, 1/10).
However, there will be increased need for doctors, administrators and other trained health professionals, too, American Medical News reports. "What's unclear is where the physicians will come from to fill those positions, and how practices, given current payment trends, will be able to hire the number of staff the bureau projects will be required." The report cites existing physician shortages, insufficient incentives for young doctors to enter primary care, and an aging pool of nurses as obstacles (Stagg Elliott, 1/11).
Despite the health industry's resilience, and anticipated growth, business has been slower than usual, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. A recently published government report in Health Affairs found that spending grew by only 4.4 percent in 2008, the slowest annual growth rate in nearly 50 years. The Enquirer reports that local primary care doctors are noticing the trend as patients skimp on some health care services (Peale, 1/10).