A new report offers insights into the nation’s growing direct-care workforce

Published: Friday, September 16, 2022 - 12:38pm

The direct care workforce, those paid caregivers who work in long term care or in private homes, is growing at a rapid pace — and so is the need. That’s according to a new report that came out earlier this month.

Kezia Scales is the senior director of Policy Research for PHI, which studies the industry. "And the purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the direct care workforce," she said.

That includes nearly 5 million homecare workers, residential care aides and nursing assistants, who support millions of older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S. 

"So looking back over the last decade, from 2011 to 2021, the direct care workforce added nearly 1.5 million new jobs up to that total number of 4.7 million. And looking ahead from 2020 to 2030, the workforce is expected to add 1.2 million more new jobs," said Scales. "And that's more new jobs than any other occupation in our country."

Scales says this workforce is predominantly women, people of color and immigrants. She says progress is being made primarily because of COVID-19. Providers were forced to increase wages and improve job quality.