Healthcare spending grows slowly as jobs climb

Healthcare spending in the United States grew by only 4.4 percent during 2011 while the sector fueled a significant chunk of the nation's job growth, reported the National Journal.

The tracking, performed by the non-profit Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending, indicated that spending was up slightly from 2010, when it upticked 3.9 percent.

Nonetheless, the growth rate was the third slowest since the data have being tracked. General healthcare inflation in 2011 was just 2.1 percent last year, the lowest rate since 1998.

Meanwhile, healthcare employment rose by 31,000 jobs last month in the United States, with hospitals providing 13,000 of those jobs--about double the 24-month average, according the report. Healthcare now represents about one in every nine jobs in the economy, near its all-time high.

"The health spending share of gross domestic product was 18.1 percent in December 2011, up from 16.4 percent at the start of the recession (December 2007), but down slightly from the all-time high of 18.2 percent in June 2011," the report reads.

To learn more:
- here's the Altarum Institute study
- read the National Journal article