--Within GDP, medical services will continue to grow as a share of nominal personal consumption expenditures. This category is projected to account for 18.0 percent of consumption in 2024--higher than its 16.7-percent share in 2014 and 15.0-percent share in 2004. (BLS, US Gov't Statistics, 2014-2015)
The healthcare sector added 34,400 jobs in September, making up almost a quarter of new jobs in the U.S. for the month.
Hospital hires led the healthcare sector, adding 15,500 for the month. Hospitals have created over 117,000 jobs in the first nine months of this year alone. Industry predictions earlier this year pointed to a stagnant hospital employment market. But other industries, like construction and transportation and warehousing are being left in the dust.
The Affordable Care Act is boosting the strong numbers, experts say. More Americans are now insured, leading to more fiscally healthy hospitals and systems, said Kyle Mattice, president of health services for the staffing firm Execu Search Group. A push towards quality over quantity is creating new kinds of jobs in population health and case management, Mattice said. The need for data analytics is also driving hiring for positions in health information technology, telehealth and health information management, he said. Physician offices, outpatient centers and other ambulatory sites created 12,900 jobs. Physician offices alone saw an uptick of 6,800 jobs in September. Also, the nursing and residential-care sector grew by 6,000 jobs.
An aging baby boomer population will continue to affect hiring in that sector, Mattice said. Patients are flowing into outpatient and home care, skilled-nursing facilities and long-term care centers.
Overall wage growth for the country was only 2.2%. This means people are spending more money on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, Mattice said. The average deductible—the amount employees have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in—increased 8.3% to $1,318 for single coverage in 2015. This trend will continue as healthcare costs rise, he said.
Overall, the U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment was unchanged at 5.1% from August.