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June 30, 2020

Philly, Pittsburgh rank among top cities for health care jobs, report finds

Cities poised for future growth despite COVID-19 crisis

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Philly Health Jobs Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

As the health care sector reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are seen as cities likely to weather the storm and add jobs in the future.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, putting millions of people out of work and leaving the health care industry itself under considerable strain.

In the month of April alone, 1.4 million health care workers lost their jobs, led by 1.18 million positions shed in ambulatory services. Physician's offices, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities combined for hundreds of thousands of additional job losses. Many were spurred by the suspension of elective procedures and other business restrictions.

A rebound of about 300,000 jobs in May provided some relief, but the uncertain path ahead in the fight against COVID-19 has left many professionals questioning where to look for future health care jobs.

A new analysis from Grand Canyon University highlighted the U.S. cities best poised for a strong return in the health care sector, examining a variety of factors that point to potential growth and supportive living conditions.

"Despite job loss in recent months due to economic hardship, jobs in the health care industry are projected to grow post-pandemic, adding a million jobs by 2028," the researchers said.

Pennsylvania's two biggest cities each ranked among the top 10, with Pittsburgh claiming the No. 1 spot. Philadelphia ranked sixth.

"Particularly, Pittsburgh saw an 80% increase in open health care jobs during the month of April, which is significant as it is one of the only cities that saw a net positive change, as the health care industry saw record job losses these past few months," the study authors said.

Most cities included in the analysis saw net losses in health care jobs during the month of April, but Philadelphia broke even during the first half of the month. The city's Eds and Meds reputation, bolstered by large university health systems across the region, puts Philadelphia in a strong position to rebound from the crisis.

Pittsburgh received the top rank despite Allegheny Health Network, one of the region's largest employers, cutting 250 jobs in May, most of them in corporate or administrative functions.

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Tower Health cut 1,000 jobs earlier this month, citing a $212 million drop in revenue from the coronavirus crisis.

With the U.S. still in the throes of the pandemic, the instability of returning elective procedures — and the revenue they bring — suggests that hospitals and other parts of the health care sector will remain in a challenging position in the months ahead.

But those seeking employment in these fields can keep an eye on the cities identified in this study for areas that are best equipped for a recovery. Here are the top 10 cities:

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2. Cleveland, Ohio

3. Providence, Rhode Island

4. Indianapolis, Indiana

5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7. Buffalo, New York

8. Birmingham, Alabama

9. Hartford, Connecticut

10. Jacksonville, Florida and Cincinnati, Ohio (tie)

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