California, Midwest markets see healthcare job growth

The HWS Labor Market Pulse Index, a quarterly barometer of local market healthcare workforce fluctuations, reveals broadening demand for healthcare workers across a number of regions, particularly in California and parts of the Midwest and Southwest for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The New York/northern New Jersey area ranked at the bottom of the 30 markets tracked by Health Workforce Solutions, a research and advisory firm focused on workforce issues in healthcare.

The HWS findings for the fourth quarter of 2009 include:

  • Near-term demand for healthcare workers is growing fastest in Sacramento, Riverside and San Bernardino, Calif., as well as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Dallas. The firm says this indicates broadening strength across a number of regions.
  • Much of the growth is being fueled by newly announced expansion plans and larger facility openings at organizations including Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Sacramento, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals in Cleveland, and Texas Health Resources in Dallas.
  • Of the 30 major markets tracked by the HWS Labor Market Pulse Index (LMPI), the slowest area for the quarter, the New York metro/northern New Jersey area, remained relatively flat, dropping 4 percent from the prior quarter.
  • The LMPI composite index, a representative basket of the 30 largest markets, posted a 19.5 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2009 from the third quarter of 2009 and was up 17.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.
  • For the fourth quarter ended 12/31/09, 21 markets of the 30 tracked by the LMPI showed signs of accelerated demand (vs. 16 in the prior quarter).

“After several slow quarters, we are now seeing notable movement across a number of markets as healthcare employers begin to ramp up again,” said David Cherner, managing partner of Health Workforce Solutions. “With the healthcare reform picture finally becoming clearer, many forward-thinking organizations appear to be refocusing back on their hiring needs at an opportune time before the competition for key clinical and ancillary personnel undoubtedly returns.”