Health care is the nation's largest private-sector industry sector, accounting for 13 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Taking a closer look at this sector, a handful of states and dozens of metropolitan areas have a much larger share of health care jobs than the national average and thus are more reliant on the sector to fuel their economies.
CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) conducted new data research that reveals which geographies have the greatest concentration of health care and social assistance jobs, and in which locations and occupations health care jobs are growing the fastest.
The analysis is based on EMSI's comprehensive labor market data, a compilation of more than 90 federal and state labor market sources that tracks traditional employees and self-employed workers.1
“The health care sector makes up at least 15 percent of the total workforce in nine states and 20 of the most populous metros,” said Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Health Care. “It is a major source of employment across markets, that is expected to grow significantly over the next five to ten years. More people have access to health benefits, people are living longer and technological advancements are creating new opportunities in medicine every day. This will translate to more jobs for both clinical and non-clinical professionals.”
States With the Highest Share of Health Care Jobs
Rhode Island (16.5 percent), West Virginia (16.0 percent) and Maine (15.6 percent) have the highest share of health care jobs in the country. All three states have larger-than-average concentrations of residents 60 years or older, which increases the need for health care services.
In six other states, health care accounts for 15 percent or more of all jobs: Pennsylvania (15.7 percent), New York (15.6 percent), Massachusetts (15.3 percent), Minnesota (15.2 percent), Vermont (15.1 percent) and Connecticut (15.1 percent). Ohio, at 14.7 percent, is just behind these states.
Other state findings:
Washington, D.C. has the lowest share of health care jobs in the U.S. (8.4 percent) but by far the most health care jobs per capita (1,030 per 10,000 residents). While Nevada has the second-lowest share of health care jobs (8.8 percent), it has the fastest-growing health care workforce among all states at 4 percent since 2012.
Metros With the Highest Share of Health Care Jobs
Home to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, has by far the largest share of health care jobs (38.4 percent) of any metro and also has the most health care jobs per capita (2,274 per 10,000 residents) in the nation.
Looking specifically at the 100 largest metros in the country, which does not include Rochester, MN, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission has the highest share of health care jobs (21.9 percent). The Texas border town has a large concentration of home health care services jobs (10 times the national average) and jobs in the "services for the elderly and person with disabilities" industry (four times the national average).
Metros in the Northeast are heavily represented in the rest of the top five. After Durham-Chapel Hill (18.1 percent), New Haven-Milford comes in third, at 17.8 percent, followed by Worcester (17.1 percent), Youngstown-Warren-Boardman (17.1 percent) and Providence-New Bedford-Fall River (16.7 percent)
In seven other metros, four of which are in Pennsylvania, health care accounts for 16 percent or more of all jobs: Scranton--Wilkes-Barre (16.3 percent), Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (16.4 percent), Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor (16.3 percent), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington (16.2 percent), Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (16.2 percent), Springfied, MA (16.0) and Pittsburgh (16.0 percent).
Durham-Chapel Hill has the most health care jobs per capita among the 100 largest metros (1,076 per 10,000 residents), followed by Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (867) and Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor (854).
Fastest-Growing Metros for Healthcare Jobs
Since the start of 2012, no industry has added more new jobs than health care and social assistance (including government-run hospitals) – an estimated 365,000. All but five of the 100 largest metros have seen job gains during this time.
The top five fastest-growing metros for health care:
1) Richmond, VA – up 5.6 percent since 2012, an addition of 4,585 jobs
Richmond has seen big growth in general medical and surgical hospitals (private), as well as home health care services and offices of physicians. It's well-concentrated in another growing health sector – medical laboratories.
2) Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX – up 5.2 percent, an addition of 16,079 jobs
This post-recession heavyweight has seen massive growth in home health care services, general medical and surgical hospitals (private) and offices of physicians.
3) Boise City-Nampa, ID – up 4.7 percent, an addition of 1,837 jobs
General medical and surgical hospitals (private) have grown by more than a 1,000 jobs since 2012 in Boise. This industry is 39 percent more concentrated in Boise than the national average.
4) Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI – up 4.4 percent, an addition of 2,465 jobs
Grand Rapids' largest-employing and strongest-performing health care sector is general medical and surgical hospitals (private). Hospitals have added nearly 1,600 positions since 2010, an 8 percent increase. Jobs in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals (private) are five times more concentrated in Grand Rapids than the nation.
5) Las Vegas-Paradise, NV – up 4.6 percent, an addition of 3,289 jobs
Health care growth in Las Vegas has been focused in two areas – home health care services (up 13 percent since 2012) and services for the elderly and persons with disabilities (up 10 percent). The diagnostic imaging centers industry, meanwhile, has grown 7 percent and is nearly three times more concentrated in Las Vegas than the nation.
Fast-growing Health Care Segments and Occupations
Of the fastest-growing detailed healthcare sectors since 2012, four have far eclipsed the rest: home health care services; offices of physicians; general medical and surgical hospitals (private); and services for the elderly and person with disabilities. Each has added at least 45,000 jobs nationwide since 2012.
The healthcare occupations that have grown the most since 2012 are mostly related to bedside or home care – registered nurses (50,798 new jobs), home health aides (49,530), nursing assistants (13,097) and medical assistants (11,275). Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (10,682) have also performed well.