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Job opportunities for physicians increase by 5% as demand surges, though worries about a shortage remain

Physician compensation has also increased, and in New Orleans, pay growth hit 10%.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

There's some good news for physicians who are looking for work: The labor market this year has shown a 5% increase in job opportunities as compared to last year, based on data compiled by professional medical network Doximity. Among specialists, family and internal medicine physicians were in the greatest demand.

It's the third consecutive year that physician demand has increased, and while this is certainly good news for working clinicians, it's also something of a concern as patient demand increases and the physician shortage worsens. The physician shortage is expected to hit more than 120,000 by 2032, according to the Association of Medical Colleges.

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The increase in physician employment opportunities is concomitant with a general upswing in the economy, which continued its growth streak in 2019 with GDP on the rise and unemployment continuing downward. In all, more than 402,000 jobs have been added to the healthcare sector within the past 12 months.

This year, in addition to traditional job market growth, telemedicine continued to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the market. In a three-year period from 2015 to 2018, the number of physicians who have self-reported telemedicine as a skill has doubled, increasing 20% per year.

The analysis broke down the physician job market by region and found that El Paso, Texas topped the list of U.S. cities where physicians are in high demand. Physician demand was well-dispersed geographically, with Miami, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, Phoenix, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado rounding out the top five.

Rounding out the top 10 are Portland, Maine; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Los Angeles, California.

Physician compensation has also increased, and in no city was this more apparent than in New Orleans, Louisiana, where pay growth for physicians hit 10%. Cincinnati, Ohio followed closely behind at 9%. Compensation gains elsewhere were more modest, but still statistically significant. Compensation grew by 3% in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hartford, Connecticut, and Riverside California; by 2% in Baltimore, Maryland, Atlanta, Georgia, and Rochester, New York; and by 1% in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Charleston, South Carolina.

THE LARGER TREND

Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018 support the finding that healthcare is adding more jobs. In fact, data released this year showed that in 2018, 346,000 new healthcare jobs were added to the economy, averaging out to about 29,000 new jobs per month. That's enough to account for one in seven new jobs in the U.S.

Among those new healthcare jobs, 219,000 of them were in ambulatory services and 107,000 were new hospital jobs. By the end of the year, there were more than 16 million people working in healthcare, comprising about 11 percent of all jobs in the overall economy. That includes 7.6 million people in ambulatory services and 5.2 million in hospitals.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com