Financial Vulnerability and Worker Well-Being: A Comparison of Long-Term Services and Supports Workers With Other Health Workers


Ulrike Muench, Matthew Jura, Joanne Spetz, Rachel Mathison, and Charlene Herrington

June 20, 2020

Over 1.5 million new jobs need to be filled by 2026 for medical assistants, nursing aides, and home care aides, many of which will work in the long-term services and supports (LTSS) sector. Using 16 years of data from the American Time Use Survey, we examined the financial vulnerability of high-skill and low-skill LTSS workers in comparison with other health care workers, while providing insight into their well-being by measuring time spent on work and nonwork activities. We found that, regardless of skill status, working in LTSS was associated with lower wages and an increased likelihood of experiencing poverty compared with other health care workers. Results from time diary data indicated that the LTSS workforce spent a greater share of their time working and commuting to work. Low-skill LTSS workers were hardest hit, spending more time on paid and unpaid activities, such as household and child care responsibilities.