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Nation's Health Care Employment to Outpace Other Job Growth Reports UAlbany's Center for Health Workforce Studies
Aging population, increased demand for services project critical shortages

Contact: Michael Parker (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 2, 2004) -- Employment in the health sector is projected to grow by 3.5 million jobs between 2002 and 2012, according to a report issued by the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies at the School of Public Health.

The report, "Health Care Employment Projections: An Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections, 2002-2012" examined the calculations and summarized the most significant findings related to health sector employment and health occupations. Health sector employment is expected to grow by 3.5 million jobs, or 30 percent, compared to a 13.5 percent growth rate for non-health sector employment. The estimates are slightly higher than actual growth for 1992-2002.

"Increased demand for health services and health workers is clearly related to the ‘graying’ of the US population," said Jean Moore, director of the center. "The US is experiencing a dramatic growth in its elderly population. The percentage of the total US population that is elderly is expected to increase from over 12% in 2000 to nearly 17% in 2020. This will fuel growing demand for health care services."

The percentage of workers in health care occupations as it relates to the total U.S. workforce is also expected to grow from 8 percent to 9 percent, a jump from 7 percent in 1992. But projections indicate that 3.3 million health workers will be needed to fill new positions created as a result of growth in health occupations, while an additional 2 million workers will be needed to replace individuals who leave their positions.

"At the same time that the aging US population increases demand for health care services, it will also affect the supply of health workers," said Moore. "For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median age for a registered nurse is 43, older than the median age of the overall American workforce, 40. Many registered nurses will retire from the profession at the same time as health sector employment expands. BLS estimates that between 2002 and 2012, over 1 million new registered nurses will be needed to fill new jobs and to replace those leaving the field. The aging of the health workforce has the potential to create future health workforce shortages."

Health care employment is growing fastest in the offices of health practitioners and in other ambulatory health settings, at rates of 3.9 and 3.3 percent respectively, compared to an average annual growth rate of 1.4 percent for the entire economy. Fifteen of the top 30 fastest growing positions in the U.S. will be in health-related fields, including 6 in the top-10, including medical assistants, physician assistants and home health aides.

For more information, visit the Center for Health Workforce studies at http://chws.albany.edu/.

The Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany's School of Public Health conducts studies of the supply, demand, use and education of the health workforce, and collects and analyzes data to understand workforce dynamics and trends. It is one of six regional centers devoted to health workforce studies with a cooperative agreement with U.S. Department of Health's Health Resources and Services Administration/Bureau of Health Professions.

 


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