Monday, September 18, 2006

What's Really Propping Up The Economy

What's Really Propping Up The Economy

This is a very interesting, and well documented article on the silent boom in the health care industry.

Take away health-care hiring in the U.S., and quicker than you can say cardiac bypass, the U.S. unemployment rate would be 1 to 2 percentage points higher.Almost invisibly, health care has become the main American job program for the 21st century, replacing, at least for the moment, all the other industries that are vanishing from the landscape. With more than $2 trillion in spending -- half public, half private -- health care is propping up local job markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, the regions hit hardest by globalization and the collapse of manufacturing (map).Health care is highly labor intensive, so most of that $2 trillion ends up in the pockets of workers. And at least so far, there's little leakage abroad in terms of patient care. "Health care is all home-produced," says Princeton University economist and health-care expert Uwe Reinhardt. The good news is that if the housing market falls into a deep swoon, health care could provide enough new jobs to prevent a wider recession. In August, health-services employment rose by 35,000, double the increase in construction and far outstripping any other sector.

via /.

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