Parkview, Lutheran top jobs list

August 21st, 2018

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

The region's health care systems top an annual list of major Allen County employers issued Monday by the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne and the Allen County commissioners.

Parkview Health Systems leads the list of the top 100 employers with 7,858 full-time equivalents, with Lutheran Health Network coming in second with 4,768.

The numbers are for employees working in Allen County, not all employees of employers based in Allen County or elsewhere.

The data also do not represent the number of people on a particular entity's full-time payroll, but rather combine hours worked by part-time and seasonal workers into full-time equivalents, known as FTEs, a standard employment measure.

The numbers come from self-reporting but are verified by the research institute.

Following the two health systems, according to the report, are Fort Wayne Community Schools with 3,935 FTEs, General Motors (3,900), Lincoln Financial Group (1,954) and BF Goodrich (1,640).

Also in the Top 10 are the city of Fort Wayne (1,608), Frontier (1,355), Allen County (1,337) and Sweetwater Sound (1,300).

Rachel Blakeman, institute director, said the study shows the county has a diverse employment base.

“Allen County's largest employers continue to be a mix of private and public sector entities, showing the diversity of industries that make up the local economy,” she said.

The top employers list shows a significant adding of full-time equivalents by Parkview. In the last survey in 2017, Parkview had 6,684 FTEs compared to 7,858 this year – a more than 17 percent increase.

Meanwhile, Lutheran reported 4,824 full-time equivalents last year, with this year's 4,768 representing an approximately 1.1 percent drop.

Spokesman Geoff Thomas said employment numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year, depending on care demands.

He said the network's turnover rate for skilled nurses has remained below the national average while the hospital added 25 physicians last year and expects to add 40 more this year.

In the aggregate, employment in local health care by the two systems grew by 1,148 full-time equivalents, an increase of about 10 percent.

Jessica Foor, Parkview spokeswoman, said in a statement the increase represented growth in care providers and support teams in the Parkview Physicians Group in Allen County and growth in services at the newly opened Parkview Cancer Institute.

Growth in services at Parkview Hospital Randallia also played a role, she said in the statement. “Each of these advancements, coupled with our  mission-focused culture, have allowed us to attract new coworkers in the last year and remain the county's largest employer.”

Blakeman pointed out employment numbers tend to be fluid throughout the year. But, she added, “Clearly we have our largest employment sector as health care, so it would be natural to see some increase. The trend we're seeing overall in health care is increasing.”

Among manufacturing employers, General Motors was down 100 from last year's report, about a 2.5 percent drop, while BF Goodrich added 60 employees, about a 4 percent increase.  

In addition, growth at Sweetwater Sound edged it into the top 10 this year, nudging it up five spots and displacing the former IPFW. Sweetwater reported 1,300 full-time equivalents this year versus 850 last year, a more than 50 percent increase.

Heather Herron, company spokeswoman, said the growth has come in hiring of sales engineers and marketing department staff members as demand for music-related products grow. The company has added physical space for new workers and expect growth to continue this year, although perhaps not at the same pace.  

Other employers reporting increases are Fort Wayne Community Schools, up 335 full-time equivalents or about 8 percent and the city of Fort Wayne, up 358, about 18 percent.

Allen County government employment increased by 32 FTEs, about a 2.5 percent increase. 

“It is helpful for government, business and workforce development leaders to understand not only how many employees work in Allen County but where they work and what kind of work they do,” said Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown, a Republican, in a statement. 

“We are happy to continue this long-term partnership with (the Community Research Institute),” she said.

Allen County provided $2,000 for the study.