April 14, 2014
For Immediate Release: April 14, 2014
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Maine Department of Labor, 207-621-5009
Examines employment and projected workforce need for Maine’s largest industry sector
AUGUSTA—The Center for Workforce Research and Information of the Maine Department of Labor has published its “2014 Health Occupations Report.” This comprehensive publication provides an overview of workforce trends in Maine’s health sector and compiles an array of data for more than 50 health and social-service occupations. The report is available online at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/pubs.html .
“This is our state’s largest economic sector in terms of employment and wages, so it’s important to understand its underlying dynamics,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Healthcare has been an important driver of job growth and vital services. That’s why I made it my highest priority to pay the state’s $750 million debt to the hospitals. Due to the aging of our population, as well as changing regulations, we must monitor this sector closely and ensure that we have a workforce that can meet the state’s healthcare needs.”
The health sector plays a central role in the economy. In addition to being a provider of essential services, the sector represents nearly 106,000 jobs and $4.4 billion in annual payroll, making it the largest segment of the economy in terms of employment and wages.
Paul Leparulo, principal economic research analyst with CWRI, the report’s lead author, will present the findings at the Maine Health Workforce Forum’s meeting, Maine's Health Workforce: What Does the Data Tell Us?, on April 15, 2014, at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette will discuss the needs of the industry and ways in which the department is working to address those training needs through industry partnerships and such programs as apprenticeship.
The health sector has contributed to job growth in significant and steady fashion. From 2001 through 2011, more net jobs were produced in healthcare than in all other job-producing sectors combined. Healthcare has also been resilient to downswings in the economy. Barring a slight decline in 2010, employment has increased every year for two decades. Going forward, an aging population, technological innovations and heightened attention toward preventative care should continue to support strong demand for health services.
The employment outlook for healthcare jobs is particularly bright. In Maine, jobs for healthcare practitioners and support workers are projected to grow a combined 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, higher than for all other major occupational groups and well above the 6 percent increase expected for all occupations.
In addition to new growth, employment opportunities will arise from the need to replace those who retire or transition into different occupations. Over the coming decade, nearly one out of five individuals currently employed in the health workforce may need to be replaced. Given the age structure of the workforce, high replacement needs are not surprising. Two-thirds of dentists and psychologists are aged 50 or older, as are nearly half of the practitioners in a variety of other occupations, including pharmacists, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses. CWRI’s report indicates that, overall, job opportunities due to replacement needs are expected to exceed those resulting from growth.
CWRI develops and disseminates information on employment, unemployment and wages; analyzes outcomes of education and training programs to guide decision-making; and develops industry and occupational employment forecasts designed to guide career planning and curriculum development. They work with a wide range of customers to provide context to the dynamics of the economy and the implications those have for workforce development. CWRI publishes a variety of data on Maine’s economy, workforce and demographics at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri .