A study by Indiana University, the nonprofit Rand Corp., and the University of Michigan has revealed that the wages of healthcare workers have not risen by the same proportion compared to other sectors of the economy. It is because the COVID-19 pandemic affected every section of the economy. However, despite facing the brunt of the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care workforce has been left high and dry when it came to increases in wages and other benefits.
The study findings have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Health. The study indicts the government’s lack of planning and poor response towards the present and possibly a future medical crisis.
Study Lays Bare Deep Fault Lines
Kosali Simon, Distinguished Professor and Herman B Wells Endowed Professor in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington, and one of the study’s co-authors said, “While there has been extensive media coverage of the considerable employment declines in the health care sector, evidence from complete national employment and wages was scarce. These findings provide a data-driven picture of employment levels in various health care settings. They can help guide decision-making not only around the current health care shortage but also during a future crisis.”
The study used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics covering 95% of all U.S. jobs during 2020 and the first six months of 2021. The focus of the study was how hard the pandemic hit a county and if there was a shortage of health care facilities before the pandemic.
Health Care Employment Levels Decreased By 5.2%
The study revealed that health care employment levels decreased by 5.2% in 2020 compared to 2019. The most significant decline was seen in dental offices (10%) and skilled nursing facilities (8.4%). The wages of health care workers also increased at a slower rate than the wage rise of workers in other sectors. Compared to the national wage rise, an average of 6.7%, wages of health5% care workers raised only by 5% in 2020 compared to 2019and 1.5% increase in health care versus 6.9% nationally in 2021.