Jun 18, 2017

Health care is a jobs bonanza, except when it isn't

The U.S. economy has had one, big, reliable source of increased employment over the last decade — health care, which has added jobs all the way through, including during the 2008-09 recession, which ripped through other sectors. But this growth hasn't been evenly distributed — health jobs have been a bonanza for Californians and New Mexicans; but east of the Rockies, not so much.

*Industry-specific employment numbers are often suppressed at the county level in order to avoid disclosing the identities of individual employers. Note: Health care employment figures are taken from the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns dataset and include employed persons under the "Health care and social assistance" NAICS classification. Data: Census Bureau; Graphic: Chris Canipe / Axios

In fact in many counties, the number of health care jobs actually fell between 2013 and 2015, after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (in the map below, brown indicates up to 20% added employment between 2013 and 2015. Blue is up to minus 20%.). Nationally, health jobs rose to 19.2 million in 2015, up from 18.6 million two years earlier. (We reported last week on the relationship, by state, between increased jobs and health care coverage.)

Why it matters: If the Republican-controlled Congress cuts coverage, that could slow down job growth. But this map shows winners and losers in terms of health care employment, and suggests that some places could lose more, and others gain, should a new law be enacted.

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