The NAICS committee decided to make Social Assistance a separate service sector in the classification of service industries. It was a reasonable choice but a significant share of Social Assistance services are also provided as a part of the health care industry, government services, and churches or non-profit organizations. Beneficiaries of these services often cannot pay for them, or at least cannot make more than small contributions, which is one reason government and churches also provide some of America’s Social Assistance. Children, the disabled and the elderly typically lack the means to pay so that budgets for social services likely need some tax money or charitable contributions.
The NAICS committee further defined separate categories within Social Assistance: 1. Individual and Family Services, 2. Emergency Relief Services, 3. Vocational Rehabilitation, and Training and a 4th category, Child Day Care. In the first three categories the emphasis is on non-residential assistance: especially assistance for children, the elderly and disabled on a continuing basis, or temporary assistance delivering food, clothing and shelter, or assistance with job counseling or training for the unemployed or disabled.
Child day care services are distinct from these services in that they are weekday custodial care for infants or preschool children and more likely to be provided on a fee for service basis. Elder care jobs are in the health industry and not here.
The Social Assistance employment totaled for just the Social Assistance sub sector comes to 2.67 million jobs. Social Assistance services have employment growth rate of 4.2 percent even though the growth rate in jobs from 2000 in the national economy was .12 percent. However, 855.5 thousand of these jobs, or 32 percent of them, are in child day care, which was growing faster than the other social assistance sub sectors until 2009. After subtracting Child Day Care service jobs, only 1.81 million jobs remain. The 1.81 million undercounts employment in Social Assistance efforts, since it does not include the government’s Social Assistance, or the health care industry’s Social Assistance services as mentioned above.
Professional occupations needing college degree skills in social assistance come to 546.5 thousand jobs, which is nearly 21.2 percent of the social service jobs. Two occupational groups dominate professional employment in social assistance: Counselors and Social Workers. More and more employers want counseling and social work job candidates to have master’s degree training and virtually all of the states require licensure or certification to be a practitioner.
Professional counselors and social workers deliver most of the actual assistance in social assistance. There are about 1.18 million counseling and social work jobs in all establishments with about 248.1 thousand, or 21.2 percent of these jobs in the Social Assistance sub sector. Another 32.1 percent are in health care, and 43.6 percent in education and government with the remaining few jobs scattered around in non-profit organizations.
The work of social workers and counselors overlaps. Both are helping people solve individual and family problems, although social workers probably have more administrative duties and spend more time negotiating with others on behalf of clients.
Educational, vocational and school counselors and child, family and school social workers have the highest percentage of professional jobs in social assistance. Counseling specialties in mental health, substance abuse and behavioral disorders counseling and mental health and substance abuse social workers are the next most important specialties.
Child day care services are the fourth category among the social assistance services, although parents generally pay and these services are less likely to be subsidized by government, or private charity. Employment growth in childcare services averaged nearly 4.5 percent a year beginning in 1990; more than triple the growth in national establishment employment. Jobs in child care increased every single year from 1990, more than doubling employment.
Back in the 1950’s when the labor force participation rate for women was under 40 percent, childcare was more of a do-it-yourself occupation. It tended to be the unrecorded and untaxed work of moms. Now that the labor force participation rate for women approaches 60 percent, there are many more two income households needing childcare. Establishment employment in child day care services averaged 388 thousand in 1990, but 855.5 thousand in 2012. More two-income households mean more transactions, which help raise growth in GDP. More working moms mean more jobs in child day care services.
The 855.5 thousand in child day care undercounts actual childcare because it does not count work in private households. Around 270 thousand work in childcare in private households where childcare workers are better known as nannies.
With a 115.3 million service jobs, administrative support and social assistance employment gives us 2.67 million jobs, but that is only 2.0 percent of establishment employment. Social service employment continues to grow faster than the national rate and gained an increase in share of national employment every single year since 1990. Expect more jobs in this sector but it is too small to help meet the need for America’s job requirements, we still have74.6 million service jobs left to fill.