Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, June 06, 2008

Technology, information, opportunity account for job stability

The healthcare industry has the unique task of combining the human touch with technology and meeting the needs of millions of people. Don't expect that to change anytime soon.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare was the largest industry in 2006, providing 14 million jobs, including 13.6 million salary and wage jobs, and 438,000 self-employed jobs. Also, seven of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare-related.

The healthcare industry is expected to generate 3 million new salary and wage job listings through 2016, more than any other industry. There are about 580,000 establishments that make up the healthcare industry. The BLS states nearly 77 percent of healthcare establishments are physicians, dentists, or other health practitioners' offices. While hospitals make up about 1 percent of all health care establishments, they employ 35 percent of all healthcare workers.

The BLS ntoes employment growth is expected to account for about 3 million new wage and salary jobs, 20 percent of all wage and salary jobs added to the economy over the 2006-16 period. Projected rates of employment growth range from 13 percent in hospitals, the largest and slowest growing, to 55 percent in home health care services.

One factor accounting for the increase, notes the BLS, is that the number of people in older age groups, with much greater than average healthcare needs, will grow faster than the total population through 2016, in turn increasing the demand for healthcare.

The BLS separates the healthcare industry into nine segments: hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, physicians' offices, dentists' offices, home health care services, other health practicioners' offices, outpatient care centers, other ambulatory health care services, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.

"Of the 13.6 million wage and salary jobs, 40 percent were in hospitals; another 21 percent were in nursing and residential care facilities; and 16 percent were in offices of physicians," the BLS notes. "The majority of jobs for self-employed and unpaid family workers in health care were in offices of physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners – about 295,000 out of the 438,000 total self-employed."

Another benefit of the healthcare industry is that healthcare professionals are needed virtually everywhere throughout the nation. According to the BLS, healthcare jobs are most concentrated in larger states, including California, New York, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania.

It also seems healthcare workers have a high rate of staying power, and although most jobs in healthcare require less than four years of college education, health diagnosing and treating practitioners are among the most educated workers.

"Workers in healthcare tend to be older than workers in other industries," the BLS states. "Health care workers also are more likely to remain employed in the same occupation, in part because of the high level of education and training required for many health occupations."

Along with the current high rate of employment, constant upgrades to technology and information promise the healthcare industry won't slow down anytime soon.

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