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Healthcare jobs, hiring in New York are surging, now up to 1.2 million jobs

Both upstate and downstate, employment growth in the industry was stronger than in all other industries combined over the past 10 years.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Healthcare jobs in New York State exceeded 1.2 million in 2017, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Healthcare employment rose by more than 18 percent over the past decade, more than double the pace of overall employment growth.

IMPACT

DiNapoli's report found the healthcare industry in New York provided nearly $71 billion in wages, with an average annual wage of $57,200 in 2017. With 7.2 percent of the total, New York ranked third in the country for its share of healthcare jobs.

Growth in private sector healthcare employment occurred in every region of the state over the last decade, with gains of more than 10 percent for six of ten regions.

New York City led with an increase of nearly 33 percent, followed by Long Island (25.1 percent), the Finger Lakes (18.9 percent), the Hudson Valley (17.8 percent) and Western New York (16.7 percent). In the Mohawk Valley, healthcare made up almost 20 percent of all private-sector jobs in 2017.

Both upstate and downstate, employment growth in the industry was stronger than in all other industries combined over the past 10 years.

In many regions, healthcare paid out higher average annual wages than the rest of the private sector. In the North Country, average annual wages were more than 50 percent higher than the average for all other industries. Average wages rose in that region over the past decade by nearly 42 percent, and by more than 30 percent in Western New York and Long Island.

While other industries shed jobs during the Great Recession, both jobs and wages in healthcare increased during the downturn and continued to grow in the past decade.

Among other findings are that total private sector wages for the industry increased by $23.2 billion over the past decade, while average annual wages rose by more than $10,400.

Doctors, dentists and nurses comprised nearly 40 percent of healthcare occupations, with doctors and dentists garnering the highest annual average wages at $152,650. Nurses averaged $79,240. Healthcare assistants and aides -- the single largest occupation at 33.5 percent -- received the lowest average wage at $29,120.

With over 548,000 jobs, or 43.7 percent, ambulatory services had the largest share of industry employment, more than residential care facilities or hospitals.

ON THE RECORD

"Year in and year out, healthcare has been a growth sector for jobs in New York over the past decade," said DiNapoli. "Across upstate New York in particular, private employment would have declined if not for job gains in healthcare. If the federal government cuts healthcare spending, it could jeopardize these jobs and hurt an important sector of New York's economy."

THE TREND

While the healthcare industry has been praised for continued job growth, adding jobs on a consistent basis, experts say that economic boost may be a double-edged sword, contributing to rising costs.

In a JAMA Viewpoint post in April, authors Jonathan Skinner and Amitabh Chandra argued that the focus must be right-sizing jobs to employees, closing inefficient facilities and resisting the urge to take unexpectedly healthy operating margins for a ride by expanding employment haphazardly.

Skinner is a healthcare economist and professor at in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine. Chandra is an economist, professor of public policy and director of health policy research at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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