Jobs in the health care sector across New York state increased between 2020 and 2021, but are yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, indicated a report released this week by the University at Albany.

The report, developed by the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the university's School of Public Health, comes as state officials have sought to significantly expand the number of workers in health care jobs in the next five years.

The report also comes as state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are settlting on a budget that could lead to higher reimbursement rates for the state's hospitals and nursing homes under the Medicaid program.

Health care workers have departed the field in droves following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with officials blaming a range of issues from burnout to vaccine requirements.

The report found jobs in New York City's health care sector grew at faster rate than those outside of the fivie boroughs between 2020 and 201. Jobs in home health care, meanwhile, increased by nearly 34% between 2017 and 2021.

Nursing home and residential care jobs declined by nearly 14% during the same time period, the report found.

“The health care industry is experiencing recruitment and retention challenges across many health care occupations,” said Robert Martiniano, senior program manager at the Center for Health Workforce Studies. “This could result in delays in needed services to patients.”

Many jobs in the field are available for newly trained registered nurses, including those at nursing homes and hospitals. Employment in the health care sector is outpacing other employment across economic sectors in New York.

And there are more than 14,000 expected average annual openings for RNs, the report found.

“A key goal of this report is to assist New York’s stakeholders to more effectively target health workforce education, job training, and provider incentive resources; to guide health workforce policies — including decisions about the capacity of health professions education programs — and to inform current and prospective students about health care employment prospects and opportunities,” said CHWS Director Jean Moore.