Home Health Industry Driving NYC Job Growth

Nationwide, home-based care is booming. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for home health aides and caregivers to increase 41% by 2026, compared to an average growth rate of 7% for all occupations.

In New York City, that trend is already taking hold. About one-third of the city’s job growth between 2016 and 2019 came from home health care, according to a Crain’s New York Business analysis of data from the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO).

“Much of the recent employment growth within [the education and health services] sector has been generated by home health care services, which has been adding jobs in New York City at a pace unmatched across the rest of the United States,” a fiscal brief from IBO says.

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The IBO report credited the consumer-directed personal assistance program (CDPAP) for the home health boom. It allows Medicaid beneficiaries to choose their own caregiver or home health aide, who may be a family member. The caregiver or aide is then paid for their services.

In total, there were more than 98,000 home health jobs added over the last three years. Business services added the second-most jobs at about 68,600 during that time period.

“Remember how once Wall Street dictated whether the city’s economy was thriving or plunging? Now it is this much less glamorous — and less lucrative — sector that drives total job gains,” Crain’s columnist Greg David wrote.

Despite the job growth within home health, hours worked were “particularly low and declined further as employment grew,” according to the IBO report. 

That’s not just a problem in New York: Nationwide, caregivers and aides frequently complain about lack of hours and low pay. Both factors have contributed to high turnover in home-based care, especially for home care workers.

In 2018, average turnover in the home care industry reached an all-time high of 82%. Meanwhile, home health turnover came in at an average rate of about 21.23%.

And while the IBO has predicted job growth will slow down in the next few years, it’s unlikely we’ll see demand for home health services decrease, as record numbers of Americans are becoming seniors.  

Home-based care labor shortages are also expected to persist, with some estimates indicating there will be as many as 7.8 million unfilled caregiver jobs by 2026.

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