ALBANY — New York state's health care jobs exceeded 1.2 million in 2017, according to a report released Friday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Health care employment rose by more than 18 percent over the past decade, more than double the pace of overall employment growth.

"Year in and year out, health care has been a growth sector for jobs in New York over the past decade," DiNapoli said. "Across upstate New York in particular, private employment would have declined if not for job gains in health care. If the federal government cuts health care spending, it could jeopardize these jobs and hurt an important sector of New York's economy."

DiNapoli's report found the health care industry in New York provided nearly $71 billion in wages, with an average annual wage of $57,200 in 2017. With 7.2 percent of the total, New York ranked third in the nation for its share of health care jobs.

Growth in private sector health care employment occurred in every region of the state over the last decade, with gains of more than 10 percent for six of ten regions. New York City led with an increase of nearly 33 percent, followed by Long Island (25.1 percent), the Finger Lakes (18.9 percent), the Hudson Valley (17.8 percent), and Western New York (16.7 percent). In the Mohawk Valley, health care made up almost 20 percent of all private-sector jobs in 2017. Both upstate and downstate, employment growth in health care was stronger than in all other industries combined over the past ten years.

In many regions, the health care industry paid out higher average annual wages than the rest of the private sector. In the North Country, average annual wages in health care were more than 50 percent higher than the average for all other industries. Average wages rose in that region over the past decade by nearly 42 percent, and by more than 30 percent in Western New York and Long Island.

The report found that while other industries shed jobs during the Great Recession, both jobs and wages in the health care sector increased during the downturn and continued to grow in the past decade.

Other findings include:

The private sector comprised 90 percent of all health care industry employment and grew by 18.1 percent from 2007 to 2017, adding nearly 216,000 jobs.

Total private sector wages for the industry increased by $23.2 billion over the past decade while average annual wages rose by over $10,400.

Doctors, dentists and nurses comprised nearly 40 percent of health care occupations, with doctors and dentists garnering the highest annual average wages at $152,650. Nurses averaged $79,240. Health care assistants and aides – the single largest occupation at 33.5 percent – received the lowest average wage at $29,120.

With over 548,000 jobs, or 43.7 percent, ambulatory services had the largest share of industry employment, more than residential care facilities or hospitals.

New Yorkers spent nearly $158 billion on health care in 2017, representing 16.1 percent of personal consumer expenditures in the state.

To read the report go to: https://osc.state.ny.us/reports/economic/health-care-employment-2018.pdf