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FACT SHEET: 1.6 Million New Direct-Care Workers Needed by 2020

February 14, 2013

The direct-care workforce will need to grow to nearly 5 million workers by 2020 in order to keep pace with rising demand, an updated PHI fact sheet (pdf) reports.

According to the latest long-term employment projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 3.4 million direct-care workers in 2010.

The additional 1.6 million workers projected by 2020 will make the direct-care workforce the single largest occupational grouping in the country, just ahead of retail salespersons.

However, the PHI fact sheet cautions that the demand for new workers will not be met until direct-care job quality is improved.

“Our analysis indicates that demand for direct-care workers…will continue to outpace supply dramatically — unless policymakers and employers work together to make these jobs competitively attractive compared to other occupations,” the report says.

Demand for Home Care Continues to Grow

The nationwide shift away from institutional care and toward home care is expected to continue throughout the decades, the fact sheet reports, a trend that should concern policymakers who seek to improve the jobs of direct-care workers.

By 2020, 68 percent of direct-care workers will work in home and community-based settings, up from 61 percent in 2010.

“The growth of the home and community-based sector, in which aides tend to earn lower wages and have fewer benefits than in facility-based settings, demands particular attention,” the report says.

— by Matthew Ozga

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