5 facts about the US direct care workforce

PHI, a nonprofit research and consulting organization, released a new annual report Sept. 6 highlighting demographics, occupational roles, job quality challenges and projected job openings related to the U.S. direct care workforce. 

The report, "Direct Care Workers in the United States: Key Facts," is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau and CMS. It includes overviews of three segments of the direct care workforce: home care workers, residential care aides and nursing assistants in nursing homes.

Five facts about the direct care workforce, according to the report:

1. From 2011 to 2021, the number of direct care workers climbed from 3.2 million workers to 4.7 million. The 4.7 million includes 2.6 million home care workers, 647,500 residential care aides, 471,000 nursing assistants in nursing homes and about 1 million direct care workers employed in other settings.

2. The U.S. is expected to add an estimated 1.2 million new jobs to the direct care workforce from 2020 to 2030, primarily in the home and community-based services sector.

3. When considering jobs that must be filled when existing workers transfer to other occupations or exit the workforce, there will be an estimated 7.9 million total job openings in direct care from 2020 to 2030.

4. Median annual earnings for direct care workers were $21,700 in 2021.

5. Sixty-two percent of nursing homes relied on nursing assistants from staffing agencies to fill staffing vacancies last year.

To learn more about the report, click here.  

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