The Personal Assistance Workforce: Trends in Supply and Demand


H. Stephen Kaye, Susan A. Chapman, Robert Newcomer, Charlene Harrington

Jul. 01, 2006

The workforce providing noninstitutional personal assistance and home health services tripled between 1989 and 2004, according to U.S. survey data, growing at a much faster rate than the population needing such services. During the same period, Medicaid spending for such services increased dramatically, while both workforce size and spending for similar services in institutional settings remained relatively stable. Low wage levels for personal assistance workers, which have fallen behind those of comparable occupations; scarce health benefits; and high job turnover rates highlight the need for greater attention to ensuring a stable and well-trained workforce to meet growing demand.

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