In case you missed it, buried amid last week’s depressing employment figures was some major news in healthcare: for the first time in U.S. history, manufacturing isn’t the king – healthcare is.
Manufacturing, which has been the biggest industry since the nation’s founding, now drops to third place while healthcare comes in first. The healthcare sector has grown from 17 percent of all private jobs to 19 percent since 2009 while manufacturing has dropped from 18 percent to 16 percent.
So how big is the healthcare boom? In May, the healthcare sector added 46,000 jobs. The rest of the economy combined added only 38,000. That 38,000 is a pretty abysmal monthly total, but it highlights the comparable growth of healthcare as an industry.
The low jobs total for the economy as a whole comes with an added bonus for healthcare: that low 38,000 number means the Federal Reserve probably won’t raise borrowing rates yet. Since hospitals depend on debt financing to fund expansions, the low interest rate comes with huge financial benefits.
The May figures also include salary details, showing that healthcare and education (the two sectors are lumped together in federal labor reports) wages are still rising. The average health/education worker made $25.71 per hour in May — 49 cents more than a year ago and more than the national private sector average of $25.59.
If all of those numbers make your head spin, here’s the bottom line:
America has more people working in healthcare than in any other non-government job. They get paid more than the average and their ranks – and salaries — are growing.
So while the healthcare sector and its jobs are changing with technology, it’s still a good time to work for – or to look for work in – the industry. These days, Americans are focused less on making things and more on making people well.
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