Medical Mystery: Why A Booming Health Sector Pays Low Wages (City Limits)

Home health care aides are both the fastest-growing job sector in the economy, and the last job anybody would want:

Though unemployment remains north of 9 percent in the “post-recession” city economy, there are a few bright spots for New Yorkers seeking work. If you’re a computer programmer or network systems analyst, for example, the state labor department projects that businesses will still be hiring for the foreseeable future. Or you could take advantage of the number one growth industry: home health aides, which are expected to add a whopping 5,230 jobs a year statewide. By 2016, according to the state’s projections, nearly 300,000 New Yorkers will be employed as home health caregivers, either as health aides or in the related field of “personal and home care,” which includes caregivers for the elderly or infirm who don’t handle medication.

For those without advanced technical skills thinking of a career change, there’s only one problem: Though demand for home care aides—who do everything from cooking and cleaning for home-bound patients to bathing and dressing them—is soaring, wages remain dismal… [read more]