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The Return of the Healthcare Economy


Back last September, I wrote a cover story arguing that healthcare jobs were the main force behind the strong labor market. I got a lot of flack at the time from all sorts of people.

But take a look at this chart:

The top line is the six-month growth rate of private sector healthcare and social assistance jobs. The bottom line is the six-month growth rate of all other private-sector jobs.

Basically, the non-health job market is in free-fall. I suspect that when the BLS issues the next round of revisions to the job numbers, the picture will look even worse.

It’s a circular flow. The government borrows money from the Chinese to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. Medical spending creates new jobs, which in turn enables working Americans to keep buying foreign goods. In effect, the health care system is the crucial piece of the economic machine these days.

Not surprisingly, healthcare is also one of the few parts of the economy where wages are rising.


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