Jobs may be shifting from nursing homes to residential care

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Time will tell, but a job shift from nursing homes to assisted living and similar residential care communities may be occurring in the realm of long-term care, according to an Altarum Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The first quarter of this year saw 1,000 new jobs in the nursing and residential care sector. A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals that nursing homes lost 12,000 jobs, whereas residential care settings gained 13,000 jobs.

Overall, the employment outlook for nursing homes and residential care settings does not appear to be as rosy compared with other areas of healthcare, according to the analysis.

The first-quarter 2016 job growth of 1,000 positions for nursing homes and residential care settings was smaller than that seen in the last quarter of 2015, when 4,000 new jobs were added. And over the past 12 months, of all areas of healthcare, jobs in nursing and residential care saw the smallest growth rate, 1.2%, according to Altarum. Jobs in the home healthcare area grew at the fastest rate, 5.8%. Outpatient care centers saw a job growth rate of 4.2%; hospitals, 3.7%; physician offices, 3.1%; and other ambulatory care settings, 3.4%.

Most recently, although overall the healthcare sector added 36,800 new jobs in March, nursing and residential care settings lost 800 jobs during that time, according to Altarum.

Nursing and residential care facilities still account for a large percentage of jobs in the healthcare sector, however, coming in second place, at 21%, with only hospitals having a larger percentage of healthcare workers, at 33%.

Job growth in healthcare overall may be slowing, according to Altarum. “While we may be overly straining our eyes to read the tealeaves, we do expect the job growth pace in the health sector to cool from its recent, brisk pace,” wrote the authors of the labor brief.

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