Health Care Drives Job Growth

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The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country and that has a big impact on jobs in the health care field.1

  • According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. spent $3 trillion on health care in 2014—up 5.3 percent over 2013 levels. 
  • U.S. spending on health care in 2014 was equal to $9,523 per person or 17.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP.
  • Per capita health care spending varied significantly across states in 2009, the most recent year data are available, from a low of $5,031 in Utah and $5,434 in Arizona to a high of $10,349 in the District of Columbia and $9,278 in Massachusetts. 

Employment in the health care field has grown significantly in recent years and will likely continue to grow at a strong pace in the next decade.2

  • Nearly one in 11 jobs is in the health care field—12.2 million in 2014.
  • In the six years after the recession, health care added 2.1 million jobs to the economy—more than the next three industries (leisure and hospitality, professional services, and education) combined. This growth in jobs is likely due to two primary factors: an aging population and federal health insurance reform, which increased the number of people who have access to insurance.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care occupations will add more jobs than any other group of occupations from 2014–2024. Employment in health care is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024—much faster than the average occupation— adding about 2.3 million new jobs. 
  • The number of physical therapists, assistants and aides is expected to grow by more than 123,000 from 2014–2024. That represents a 36 percent jump.
  • The median annual wage for health care practitioners and t


1 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Health Expenditure Accounts.
2 Unless otherwise specified, data are author’s analysis of information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.

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