Wage growth in health care has lagged other industries, despite pandemic burden: News at IU: Indiana University

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new analysis from Indiana University, the nonprofit Rand Corp. and the University of Michigan highlights changes in America’s healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that the average salary of healthcare workers in the United States has increased less than salaries in d other industries in 2020 and in the first six months of 2021. This is despite healthcare workers shouldering the heavy burden of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers said their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Health Forum, are essential for planning and responding to current and future public health crises.

“While there was extensive media coverage of the dramatic decline in employment in the healthcare sector, evidence of full national employment and wages was sparse,” said Kosali Simon, Professor Emeritus and Herman B Wells Endowed Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington and one of the study’s co-authors. “These findings provide a data-driven picture of employment levels across various healthcare settings and can help guide decision-making not only around the current healthcare shortage, but also during a crisis. future.”

The research team used industry and county-level data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics covering 95% of all US jobs in 2020 and the first six months of 2021 to examine what happened. salaries and number of jobs in medical offices, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home care facilities, dental offices and other health care facilities.

They examined whether the number of healthcare jobs in a county reflected the strength with which that county had been hit by COVID-19 cases and the extent of the healthcare shortage faced. they were facing even before the pandemic.

The study found that employment levels in the healthcare sector declined in mid-2020 to 21.1 million jobs, down 5.2% from 22.2 million in 2019 Employment declines varied across types of healthcare organizations in the first year of the pandemic, with the largest decline occurring between dental practices (10%) and skilled nursing facilities. (8.4%).

In addition, wages in the health care sector have increased at a rate below the national average in all sectors. Compared to 2019, there was a 5% increase in wages in the health sector compared to 6.7% for the national average in 2020, and a 1.5% increase in health care compared to 6, 9% nationally in 2021.

While employment levels in most healthcare sectors rebounded to pre-COVID levels in 2021, researchers found there was a 13.6% drop in employment in healthcare settings qualified nurses compared to 2019.

Thuy Nguyen, assistant research professor at the University of Michigan and lead author, said the study found substantial employment declines in nursing homes, which were more severe in areas with high COVID burden. -19. But she said those results were expected because those employees may experience greater frustration and burnout associated with the pandemic.

Jonathan Cantor, policy researcher at Rand Corp. and lead author of the study, said these were changes in practice and health care facility utilization and finances, increased health risks, or burnout due increased patient burden and interruptions to child care. , there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted healthcare personnel.

“While federal programs have provided financial assistance to hospitals and institutions, it is important to focus on the effect of the pandemic on employment levels and salaries in the healthcare sector, especially if we are to avoid such shortages in the future,” added Christopher Whaley, a policy researcher at the Rand Corp. and another study co-author.

Leave a Reply