AHA: Hospitals contribute 16% of GDP, 5.3 million jobs to U.S. economy

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U.S. hospitals provides economic stability and even growth during times of recession, employing more than 5.3 million people in 2008, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

In 2008, the healthcare sector represented 16.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)–approximately $2.3 trillion. Out of that total, hospitals accounted for $718 billion, the association found.

“The importance of hospitals to their communities extends far beyond healthcare,” the report stated. Hospitals were the second largest source of private sector jobs in 2008 and spent about $320 billion on goods and services from other business.

As the second largest source of jobs in the private sector, according to the AHA, the percentage of total (non-farm) employment supported by hospital employment for the U.S. was 11.03 percent. Overall, hospitals support nearly one in nine jobs nationwide, the report concluded. The employment figure of 5.3 million in 2008 represents a jump of one million U.S. jobs since 1993.

Among individual states, California hospitals were the largest hospital employers in 2008, employing 491,436, followed by New York, where hospitals employed 415,017 individuals. Maine held the largest percentage of total (non-farm) employment supported by hospital employment with 11.49 percent, followed by Massachusetts (10.78 percent), Ohio (10.74) and Pennsylvania (10.36 percent).

The AHA also reported that U.S. hospitals treated 123 million people in their emergency departments, provided care for 624 million outpatients, performed 27 million surgeries and delivered four million babies in 2008.