Is the health-care sector slowing?

Date posted: February 13, 2014

For decades one sector we could count on for growth was health care. But today there are some signs that that is changing. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what’s happening.

“For the first time in I don’t know how long, we actually saw in 2013 the percentage of our overall economy devoted to health care go down slightly. We’ve also seen job growth in health care, which was really very strong — in fact, one of the strongest during the recession — slow down dramatically. So, some experts are thinking something’s going on in the health-care sector.

“And there could be a number of possibilities here: One, perhaps, is the additional constraints and uncertainty from the Affordable Care Act. Another could be, particularly at the upper end, constraint on Medicare budgets. And then also the types of health insurance policies have been changing, putting a little more of the onus on the individual policyholder in terms of higher deductibles and higher co-pays. All of which means  they may be a little more frugal in their health-care spending.

“Now, I don’t think what were going to see is the health-care sector necessarily shrink dramatically over time. But I do think we are seeing a slowing of the rate of growth. And again, I think this importantly affects people who are looking for jobs or as you to always be assured of a job in health care, now, I think many people are going to need to look to other sectors.”

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