April 25, 2012
By: John Rossheim, Senior Contributing Writer
Wage increases in healthcare continue to trump employee compensation in other industries during the slow recovery from the 2007-2009 recession, according to a report from PayScale.
For example, while the legal and construction industries have each seen cumulative wage increases of less than 3 percent since 2006, healthcare workers have racked up a 9.6 percent increase.
Not that healthcare pay was unaffected by the macroeconomic downturn.
“While wages for all industries fell more than 1.5 percent from Q4 of 2008 until mid-2009, healthcare wages dipped by only half that,” says Katie Bardaro, lead economist at PayScale in Seattle.
Healthcare pay is somewhat sensitive to the macroeconomic facts of life, because some people forgo preventive care and others skip or delay elective treatments. “People cannot drop healthcare from their budgets, but they can find ways to save by reducing demand for any optional healthcare, says Bardaro.
“Wages in the healthcare industry regained the ground they lost in under two years and are now 1.5 percent higher than their previous peak levels -- whereas wages across the economy only fully recovered last quarter,” Bardaro adds. “Demand for healthcare services continues to grow, which drives strong wage growth.”
Indeed, employment in healthcare has continued to trend upward, setting the pace of recovery for the broader labor market by adding a net 337,000 jobs in the 12 months ending March 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So all signs still point to healthy wages and increases for the foreseeable future. “This industry will continue to experience higher-than-average wage growth as the general populace continues to age and thus requires more care,” Bardaro says.
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