In 1996, a widely circulated and influential forecast for the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area stated that a decline in hospital and healthcare employment in the region would occur over the next five years. It also suggested that this decline would exacerbate the problem of an oversupply of nurses seeking hospital employment. The forecast reflected a regional leadership and expert consensus on the impact of the managed care transformation on workforce needs and was supported by shortterm statistical trends in regional utilization and employment. Confounding these predictions was the fact that hospital and healthcare employment actually grew. By the end of 2001, hospitals in the region were experiencing problems in recruiting sufficient numbers of nurses, pharmacists, and technicians. The forecast failed to anticipate the impact of a strong regional economy on supply and underestimated the resilience of underlying forces that have driven the long-term growth in health-care workforce demand. More effective ongoing monitoring can help moderate the fluctuation of workforce shortages and surpluses.
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© 2003 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives