Hospitals both directly and indirectly provide a tremendous boon to the economy, according to data from the American Hospital Association. U.S. hospitals support nearly one of nine American jobs and are responsible for more than $2.1 trillion in economic activity, the industry group reports.
Hospitals directly employed nearly 5.4 million people in 2008, up from roughly 4.3 million people in 1993, according to the AHA report, which states that "hospitals provide stability and even growth during times of recession." In fact, hospitals were the second largest source of private sector jobs, the numbers show.
The report finds that hospital care is the largest component of the healthcare sector--itself a growing segment of the U.S. economy. In 2008, that sector represented 16.2 percent of the gross domestic product--approximately $2.3 trillion. Hospitals accounted for $718 billion of that, according to the AHA.
Overall, U.S. hospitals treated 123 million people in their emergency departments, provided care for 624 million outpatients, performed 27 million surgeries, and delivered 4 million babies in 2008, the report says.