September 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

Economic Indicators | September 17, 2020

Altarum's monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators (HSEI) briefs analyze the most recent data available on health sector employment, spending, prices, and utilization—helping to fill gaps in the official government data.

Our September 2020 briefs illustrate the continued recovery of health care spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. While health care continues to regain jobs, labor is still 4.5% below pre-Covid employment. ​Also, the Health Care Price Index (HCPI) is clearly trending up from its recent low of 1.2% annual growth in June 2019.

  • At $3.80 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate), national health spending in July 2020 was 0.5% lower than in July 2019.
  • Health care added 75,300 jobs in August, down from 134,000 in July and 349,000 in June.
  • The economy overall gained 1.37 million jobs in August and has regained 48% of the 22.16 million jobs lost since February. The unemployment rate fell from 10.2% to 8.4%.
  • Health care prices in August 2020 rose 2.7% from August 2019. Excepting April 2020—distorted by much lower spending and strange category weights—this is the highest reading in nearly a decade.
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