Posted by Brian McCullough
This week’s BusinessWeek has the first solid statistics I’ve seen that prove that health care is the new plastics. (The Graduate reference) By that I mean, health care is finally fulfilling its promise as THE growth industry of the next 50 years.
For about 15 years now, prognosticators have sworn up and down that, for population and actuarial reasons, health care would be the single greatest career path for the foreseeable future. What with the BabyBoomers aging and the continuing growth of health care spending like a cancer on our country’s GDP, health care would be the place where most new jobs would be created.
Well, finally the prognosticators have been proven right.
Since the last U.S. downturn began in March, 2001, the private sector has added a total of 4 million positions—and about 2 million of them, or 49%, are in health care. That’s big. In the previous two business cycles—from the start of one recession to the start of the next—health care accounted for only 14% of private-sector job growth.
To put this in simpler terms, over the entire Bush era, one out of every two new jobs created was in the health care sector. Health care now makes up roughly 50% of the job growth in this country.
Will it continue? No reason to think otherwise. I say this for the reasons I gave above (population, actuarial, etc.) and also with my fingers crossed hoping we can get some form of universal health care from the next administration.
The data even seems to suggest that we might be entering a period of time where the ONLY industry that will be seeing job creation will be health care.
Since December, 2007, the sector has added roughly 60,000 jobs, while the rest of the private sector has lost 190,000.