OKC healthcare industry jobs increased 12% in the last decade

Published: Monday, April 19, 2021 By: Chamber Staff Source: The POINT!

As the Chamber looks forward to the annual State of Health event May 12, economist Eric Long provides a review of the region’s healthcare sector and its importance to the region’s economy.

“Healthcare continues to grow in importance to the Oklahoma City economy, and in fact represents 9% of total GDP for the metro and annually generates an estimated $6.3 billion in direct output of goods and services,” Long said. There are 4,126 payrolled healthcare business establishments in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

“Oklahoma City’s healthcare sector continues to grow,” explained Long. “There are more than 76,000 jobs in the sector, accounting for 11% of all jobs in the metro.”

Over the past decade the number of jobs in the healthcare industry has grown by 12.1%, or more than 8,200. This is a greater growth rate than the state of Oklahoma (+4% or 6,900 jobs) and slightly less than the nation (14% or 2.3 million jobs). The largest growth in jobs has occurred in general medical and surgical hospitals (+4,219 or +22%), offices of physicians (except mental health specialists) (+1,254 or +14%), freestanding ambulatory surgical and emergency centers (+1,111 or +172%), offices of dentists (+828 or +21%), and all other miscellaneous ambulatory and health care services (+648 or +523%).

“Another important aspect of Oklahoma City’s healthcare economy is the higher wages paid in this sector,” Long continued. “Wages in healthcare are significant, with average annual pay of $57,311, which is 15% higher than the average compensation across all industries. Employees in Oklahoma City’s healthcare cluster average $7,300 more per year than others in the private sector. This highlights the growth opportunities available to those interested in a career in healthcare.”

The five most common occupation titles employed in the Oklahoma City healthcare sector are registered nurses (10,720), nursing assistants (5,234), medical assistants (3,996), medical secretaries and administrative assistants (3,738), and licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (3,427).

“Another interesting fact about Oklahoma City’s healthcare industry is the gender makeup of the employment,” said Long. “Only 22% of those working in healthcare in our metro are male and 78% are female. If you look across all industries, there is a 51% to 49% male-to-female gender mix, making this sector very different.” Looking at the ages employed in this sector, nearly 21%, or approximately 16,000, of those employed in the metro’s healthcare sector are 55 or older, compared to 23% in that same age bracket across all industries.

This story originally appeared in the April 2021 edition of The Point. 

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