State Health Care Employment 2016
Health care employment varies widely from one state to another. In the national economy establishment employment in health care has 19.1 million jobs, or 13.2 percent of national employment. California employs 2.183 million in the four health care sub-sectors of physicians services, hospitals, nursing and residential care and social services. California has the high while Wyoming is the low with only 24.8 thousand jobs working in the health care industry. The high percentage for health care in statewide employment is 17.3 percent in Massachusetts and the low 8.8 percent in Wyoming.
To allow for the enormous state population differences it is necessary to use employment per thousand population to compare state variation. Variations diminish but remain: California has 55.6 employed in health care per thousand population while Wyoming has 42.8 per thousand population and Massachusetts 90.5.
The high for health care employment per thousand population is 101 in the District of Columbia while the low is 39 in Nevada. There are 9 states with health care employment below 50 per thousand while 13 states have health care employment above 70 per thousand. The average is 61.3.
The five southern states - Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina – are among the nine low health care employment per thousand population states. The other four including Nevada are Utah, Wyoming and Hawaii.
The nine states above 70 jobs per thousand population have five of the six New England states – Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island – and also close by New York and Pennsylvania are above 70 per thousand population as well. However the remaining six show less connection to location or population. They are the District of Columbia and Delaware in the east and North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota in the mid-west.
There are 32 states and the District of Columbia that took the Obama Care Medicaid option and 19 states that did not. All five of the low health care employment southern states mentioned above did not take the Medicaid option. Florida, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas did not take the Medicaid option either. While their health care employment was above 50 per thousand population, they were below the average; all four were between 50 and 55 per thousand population.
The remaining ten states that did not take the Medicaid option are scattered geographically and show a moderate correlation with employment per thousand population. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the Medicaid option (Yes = 1, No = 0) and health care jobs per thousand population in the fifty states and the District of Columbia equals .36, where 0 means random variation and 1 predicts exact variation.
If we think of health care employment per thousand population as a measure of state effort and commitment to health care, then there are some good signs. Every single state and the District of Columbia have a higher health care employment per thousand population in 2016 than in 2007, the last full year before the 2008 to 2010 recession. All the states are doing better. Four states have an increase over 20 percent and 12 more had an increase of 15 to 20 percent. However, the correlation between health care per thousand population in 2007 and 2016 is high, .98, meaning roughly the same relative differences between the states continue now as they were in 2007. While it is certain the Medicaid option helps health care employment the effect so far appears modest. The differences suggest a difference of state preferences reflected through fifty-one varied political systems, although the result does not necessarily reflect the popular will. We know there is money in politics as well as health care.