by Cameron Macht
Now accounting for almost one in every four jobs, Health Care and Social Assistance has grown rapidly as the largest employing industry in Northeast Minnesota. With just over 33,600 jobs midway through 2016, Health Care and Social Assistance now provides 23.5 percent of total covered employment in the Arrowhead, which was nearly 7 percent more concentrated than in the state as a whole.
Health Care and Social Assistance has been the driving force for the regional economy. From the second quarter of 2000 to the second quarter of 2016, Health Care and Social Assistance added exactly 10,000 net new jobs in Northeast Minnesota, a hearty 42.3 percent increase. That included just over 4,200 new jobs over the past decade since the second quarter of 2006 and 471 net new jobs in the past year.
The two largest Health Care and Social Assistance sectors in the region are Hospitals, which had just over 13,100 jobs, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, which provided 10,600 jobs in 2016. Both of those sectors have been huge job contributors over the past decade, and both are much more strongly concentrated in Northeast Minnesota than the rest of the state, highlighting their importance to the region (see Table 1).
|Qtr. 2 2016 Data||Change in Jobs|
|Number of Firms||Number of Jobs||Average Annual Wages||Qtr. 2 2006 - Qtr. 2 2016||Qtr. 2 2015 - Qtr. 2 2016|
|Total, All Industries||8,408||142,808||$39,780||252||0.2%||-1,687||-1.2%|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||891||33,613||$43,368||4,217||14.3%||471||1.4%|
|Ambulatory Health Care Services||370||5,415||$63,128||-1,214||-18.3%||173||3.3%|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||22||12,570||$55,952||NA||NA||403||3.3%|
|Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals||1||533||$56,264||229||75.3%||-231||-30.2%|
|Nursing and Residential Care Facilities||284||10,600||$25,324||NA||NA||-102||-1.0%|
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing)||29||2,857||$29,068||NA||NA||NA||NA|
|Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities||94||3,575||$23,868||399||12.6%||-154||-4.1%|
|Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly||77||2,384||$23,036||741||45.1%||-162||-6.4%|
|Other Residential Care Facilities||84||1,784||$25,220||1,197||203.9%||170||10.5%|
|Individual and Family Services||120||2,993||$24,700||651||27.8%||-21||-0.7%|
|Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services||15||185||$32,760||-20||-9.8%||3||+1.6%|
|Vocational Rehabilitation Services||32||829||$25,792||-45||-5.1%||22||2.7%|
|Child Day Care Services||44||473||$24,336||NA||NA||-17||-3.5%|
|Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program|
Because of the outsized influence of health care on the Arrowhead economy, workforce efforts in the region have focused on training people in health care support and practitioner occupations like certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides (HHAs), personal care aides (PCAs), registered nurses (RNs), and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), among others. Most of these new workers have been absorbed into the labor force as quickly as they can be trained and are projected to remain in high demand in the next decade as well.
But medical care represents just one part of the exploding need for health care and social assistance services in the region. Northeast Minnesota is also experiencing tremendous growth in services for the disabled, elderly, low income, or other underrepresented populations, helping find and obtain employment, housing, financial assistance, or other social services.
After hospitals, the largest employing sub-sector in Northeast Minnesota is Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities, which provided 3,575 jobs at 94 establishments through the second quarter of 2016. Despite eliminating just over 150 jobs in the past year, these facilities still added nearly 400 jobs over the past decade, a 12.6 percent increase.
Likewise, the region had just under 3,000 jobs at 120 providers of Individual and Family Services, such as child welfare services and guidance agencies, activity centers for people with disabilities, senior citizen and adult day care centers, and non-medical home care for elderly or disabled persons. These organizations added over 650 jobs from 2006 to 2016, a 27.8 percent increase.
Over 10 percent of the jobs at Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and Social Assistance are classified in the Community and Social Services occupational group. In the Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities sub-sector, these occupations account for more than 20 percent of employment.
When compared to the U.S. economy, Community and Social Services occupations have a location quotient of 2.1 in Northeast Minnesota, meaning that the share of jobs is more than twice as high in the region as the rest of the nation. Overall, 10 of the 15 occupations in the group have location quotients above 2.0 while just two occupations – healthcare social workers and social workers, all other – were less concentrated in the region than the nation (see Table 2).
|Northeast Minnesota Community and Social Services Occupations|
|SOC Code||SOC Title||Northeast Minnesota||United States|
|Estimated Regional Employment||Median Hourly Wage||Location Quotient||Estimated National Employment||Median Hourly Wage|
|00-0000||Total, All Occupations||142,870||$16.61||1.0||137,896,660||$17.58|
|21-0000||Community and Social Service Occupations||4,290||$18.55||2.1||1,972,140||$20.36|
|21-1093||Social and Human Service Assistants||1,610||$14.28||4.3||359,350||$14.94|
|21-1021||Child, Family, and School Social Workers||600||$29.02||2.0||294,080||$20.52|
|21-1014||Mental Health Counselors||330||$18.05||2.5||128,200||$20.29|
|21-1012||Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||320||$22.25||1.2||253,460||$26.01|
|21-1023||Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||250||$22.33||2.2||110,070||$20.44|
|21-1099||Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other||240||$18.64||2.4||94,670||$20.30|
|21-1011||Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||180||$19.80||2.0||87,090||$19.37|
|21-1022||Healthcare Social Workers||110||$25.23||0.7||155,590||$25.38|
|21-1094||Community Health Workers||100||$17.46||2.0||48,130||$17.59|
|21-1019||Counselors, All Other||70||$17.75||2.6||26,370||$22.07|
|21-1013||Marriage and Family Therapists||40||$19.64||1.2||32,070||$23.56|
|21-1029||Social Workers, All Other||10||$21.24||0.2||59,570||$28.38|
|Source: DEED Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, Qtr. 1 2016|
With estimated regional employment of 1,610 workers, Social and Human Service Assistants have the highest location quotient of the Community and Social Services occupations in the region, being four times more concentrated in the Arrowhead than the country. In fact, it is the 18th largest occupation in Northeast Minnesota, but barely cracks the top 100 occupations nationwide, ranking 89th overall.
According to DEED's Career Profile tool, Social and Human Service Assistants "assist in providing client services in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, including support for families," and "may assist clients in identifying and obtaining available benefits and social and community services, " or "assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, rehabilitation, or dependent care."1
Other job titles include case worker, case aide, case manager, advocate, daily living specialist, clinical assistant, or addictions counselor assistant. Whatever the setting, people in this job need active listening, social perceptiveness, time management, and decision making skills. Workers are in constant contact with other people, and should have a service orientation that leads them to look actively for ways to help people and ensure the safety and security of their clients.
The typical entry-level educational requirement is a high school diploma and short-term on-the-job training, but nearly three-fourths of people who are working as Social and Human Service Assistants in Minnesota have at least some college experience, including 31 percent who have a bachelor's degree or higher. According to data from the most recent Job Vacancy Survey, just 20 percent of the current openings for Social and Human Service Assistants in Northeast Minnesota require postsecondary education, and the median wage offer was $11.52, showing there may be a misalignment between jobseeker expectations and employer needs.
In contrast, the rest of the occupations in the Community and Social Services group require at least a Bachelor's Degree, with many preferring a Master's Degree. Social workers, whether in mental health and substance abuse, healthcare, or child, family, and school settings, all require a Bachelor's Degree, while most positions for counselors call for a Master's Degree (see Table 3).
|Educational Requirements for Community and Social Service Occupations|
|Occupational Title||Typical Education Needed for Entry|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||Master's Degree|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||Master's Degree|
|Mental Health Counselors||Master's Degree|
|Rehabilitation counselors||Master's Degree|
|Counselors, All Other||Master's Degree|
|Healthcare Social Workers||Master's degree|
|Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other||Master's Degree|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||Bachelor's Degree|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||Bachelor's Degree|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||Bachelor's Degree|
|Social Workers, All Other||Bachelor's Degree|
|Health Educators||Bachelor's Degree|
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists||Bachelor's Degree|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||Bachelor's Degree|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||High school diploma|
|Community Health Workers||High school diploma|
|Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics|
This requirement is very clearly reflected in Job Vacancy Survey results in Northeast Minnesota, where 100 percent of the openings for Mental Health Counselors, Child, Family, and School Social Workers, Healthcare Social Workers, and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers require postsecondary education. This has led to higher median wage offers, ranging from about $15.00 to nearly $19.00 per hour in the region.
Wage offers and educational requirements were lower for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors in the region. Just 45 percent of postings required postsecondary education, and the median wage offer was just $11.90 per hour, despite having one of the highest job vacancy rates in the region.
The current demand for community and social services workers remains strong in Northeast Minnesota, with employers reporting the highest number of job vacancies in the second quarter of 2016. While demand increased 30 percent across all occupations in the region over the past year, the number of openings for community and social services workers jumped 72 percent since 2015 and was 10 times higher than in 2009 and 2012 (see Figure 1).
Northeast Minnesota is expected to see continued growth in demand for Community and Social Service occupations and will also need to fill existing jobs that become open when current workers retire or leave the labor force for other reasons. According to DEED's 2014 to 2024 Employment Outlook, the region is projected to add over 400 net new jobs in community and social service and may have 1,000 replacement openings available to fill (see Table 4).
|Community and Social Service Employment Projections in Northeast Minnesota, 2014 to 2024|
|Occupation||Estimated Employment 2014||Projected Employment 2024||Percent Change 2014-2024||Numeric Change 2014-2024||Replacement Openings 2014-2024||Total Openings 2014-2024|
|Total, All Occupations||159,860||163,078||2.0%||3,218||38,200||+44,660|
|Community and Social Service Occupations||4,754||5,170||8.7%||416||1,000||1,420|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||1,666||1,852||11.1%||186||320||510|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||391||448||14.5%||57||90||150|
|Mental Health Counselors||299||360||20.4%||61||60||120|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||377||380||0.7%||3||90||90|
|Community and Social Service Specialists||315||328||4.1%||13||60||70|
|Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors||251||265||5.5%||14||50||60|
|Substance Abuse and Behavior Disorder Counselors||136||160||17.6%||24||20||50|
|Healthcare Social Workers||118||122||3.3%||4||20||30|
|Community Health Workers||80||96||20.0%||16||10||30|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||39||47||20.5%||8||-----||10|
|Counselors, All Other||22||25||13.6%||3||-----||-----|
|Source: DEED 2014-2024 Employment Outlook|
1 DEED Career Profile. Social and Human Service Assistants. Retrieved from: https://apps.deed.state.mn.us/lmi/cpt/home