By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Healthcare comprises more than 10 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy.
Nearly a quarter of all new jobs added nationally in August were in the healthcare sector, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. In all, more than 40,000 new positions created — nearly one in four of the 173,000 new jobs created in the overall U.S. economy.
As a result of this job growth, the national unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August, with the number of unemployed individuals dipping to eight million. For the year, according to U.S. News & World report, 457,000 new healthcare jobs have been created accounting for 18.5 percent of the nearly 1.7 million non-farm payroll additions in 2015.
The fastest growing segment is Ambulatory healthcare services, accounting for more than half the August growth. Hospitals added 16,000 new positions, while nursing and residential care created 3,500 new jobs.
How big is healthcare’s role in driving the economy? According to the Labor Department, it makes up 10.7 percent of all jobs, or more than 15 million people. This includes more than 4.9 million hospital employees, more than 6.9 million individuals employed in ambulatory services, and more than 3.3 million people working in nursing and residential care.
And the $2.9 trillion spent on healthcare in the United States comprises approximately 17.4 percent of the nation’s gross national product. (GNP).
The growth should come as no surprise with an aging population and increased demand for services caused by the Affordable Care Act are driving demands for access to healthcare, although some healthcare chains already have warned this growth is only temporary and will decline as the gains from ACA are absorbed by the system.