March 2019 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

Economic Indicators | March 15, 2019

These monthly briefs analyze the most recent data available on health sector employment, spending, prices, and utilization—helping to fill gaps in the official government data.

Below are highlights from this month's reports:

  • National health spending grew by 4.6% in 2018. At $3.73 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate), national health spending in December 2018 was 4.6% higher than it was in December 2017.
  • Year over year (February 2019 compared to February 2018), health jobs grew by 2.3% while non-health jobs grew by 1.6%; the health share of total jobs is at an all-time high of 10.79%.
  • Health care prices in February 2019 rose 1.3% above February 2018, its lowest growth rate since September 2017.
  • Drug price growth at minus 1.2% in February, year over year, was the lowest since September 1972! However, the 12-month moving average stands at 1.1% growth (this is low, but not historically so).
  • Economy-wide prices are growing more quickly than the Health Care Price Index—18 months and counting, and only 2 months from the record.
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