Healthcare needs 5.6M new jobs by 2020 to meet demand

Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the industry will need to create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020 to meet the growing demand for care, concluded a new study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and Workforce.

Moreover, 82 percent (4.6 million) of those new healthcare jobs will require post-secondary education and training.

Including all of the "behind-the-scenes" workers--hospital accountants, information specialists and doctor's office secretaries, among other positions--healthcare jobs will rise from 15.6 million in 2010 to 19.8 million jobs in 2020 and account for 13 percent of all U.S. jobs, according to a research announcement released today.

Yet the study noted that the reform law could cause healthcare to lose up to 5,500 workers through 2021, as low-wage workers who are in healthcare jobs only for access to health insurance might move to other industries once insurance becomes available elsewhere. Despite the expected loss, researchers still said the ACA will have a marginal effect on healthcare employment.

New data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforces that optimism. The data showed that healthcare jobs are continuing their upward trend, even in a weak economy, adding 32,800 jobs in May.

However, recent research suggests the industry might miss that 5.6 million job mark in 2020. An April study by Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany, projects healthcare will add 4.2 million jobs by that time. According to that study, the industry will need roughly 7.5 million health workers to fill new jobs and replace workers who leave their positions, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the research announcement
- here's the report executive summary (.pdf)