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Chukwuemeka Nwanze, Ron Adelman, Janine Barth; The Ophthalmology Job Market In the Aftermath of the Great Recession. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4393.
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Previous work has indicated that economic recessions can depress the ophthalmology job market for up to three years after the end of the recession. This project attempts to evaluate the state of the ophthalmology job market two years after the end of the Great Recession (December 2007 June 2009).
Three data sources were used to evaluate the state of the ophthalmology job market. A print-based help-wanted index (HWI) of physician recruitment advertisements appearing in the following journals:Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology and Archives of Ophthalmology/ from January 1986 through June 2012; an internet-based HWI of physician recruitment advertisements based on the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) online recruitment advertisements (April 1999 through January 2012) and data abstracted from the job fairs during the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meetings (2003 through 2010).
Compared to the pre-recession period, the print-based HWI demonstrated a decline in the demand for ophthalmologist (68.94%, p = 1.70 x 10^-14). The online-based HWI similarly showed a decrease in demand (27.79%, p=0.001). The ratio of advertised jobs to job-seekers worsened from 0.492 to 0.408 (p= 0.003) Specific economic factors associated with demand for academic ophthalmologists include national research expenditure and stock market gains (p = 0.00135), while demand for private practice ophthalmologists was associated with Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and discretionary healthcare expenditure (p = 4.06 x 10^-4).
Despite increases in the elderly and the prevalence of eye diseases, demand for ophthalmologists has declined following the Great Recession. A similar pattern of decline in demand for ophthalmologists was noted after the previous two economic recessions that the United States went through (3/01-11//01 and 7/90-3/91). Our data suggests that the current recession appears to have had a larger short-term impact on the ophthalmology job market than the previous recessions. The reduced marketplace demand for ophthalmologists may continue for a period of time. Given the increase in eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, with time-dependent treatment windows, this economics-mediated decline in demand for ophthalmologists may pose a significant public health threat.
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