Originally Published: September 27, 2015 1:29 a.m.
The character of employment in the healthcare sector across northern Arizona has become increasingly complex given the evolution of technology, standards and models of care, and population demographics. Workforce needs span all skill and technical levels from science-based technicians to administrative expertise and computer science. As the medical field transitions to an outpatient model of healthcare, also known as home-based healthcare, labor needs are shifting to accommodate this new demand, meaning that many occupations are experiencing an expansion or adjustment in job duties.
Out of 66 primary healthcare occupations ranging from entry level to middle skilled technical positions and higher end professional occupations, Yavapai County experienced a 13% increase in employment across these occupations in the past five years, while Coconino had a 12% increase. Healthcare jobs in Yavapai outnumber those in Coconino by approximately 774 positions. Since 2013, the eastern part of Yavapai County, known as the Greater Verde Valley, has seen a 17.8% increase in employment across these occupations, this is the greatest sub-regional demand for healthcare occupations.
Yavapai County also had a location quotient for these occupations that is greater than one, signifying that there is a concentrated industry, cluster, occupation, and demographic group in the region as compared to the nation. This reveals a unique feature of Yavapai County in comparison to the national average.
The overview of top occupations in Yavapai County by 2 digit federal Standard Occupational Classification codes identifies healthcare practitioners and technical occupations in the field to be the best return on average hourly earnings at $39.27 and the greatest quantity of jobs in the region with a total of 3,942 expected by 2016. Health support occupations also fair well with a $14.24 average wage and the largest expected growth in jobs at 4% by 2016.
Yavapai County in particular displays increasing demand for a variety of healthcare occupations which correspond to high wages that ripple through the economy, churning the economic engine and fulfilling the needs of the growing constituency to create a healthy community foundation.
**The Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center provides analysis and services that facilitate economic development throughout Yavapai County and build wealth in our local communities.