Hospitals drive job, financial growth in economic slump

In addition to medical care, states can count on hospitals as a dependable source of jobs, income taxes and spending, even during a sluggish economy.

Hospitals are "economic strongholds" in New Jersey, contributing $19.5 billion to the Garden State last year, $900 million more than in 2010, according to a report released today from the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The state's 72 acute care hospitals contributed $2.5 billion in purchased services and more than $132 million in state taxes, assessments and fees last year.

They also employ 140,000 full-time and part-time workers, maintaining healthcare's top spot as the state's largest-growing industry, the report noted. Thanks to strong job growth, New Jersey hospitals paid $7.9 billion in employee salaries in 2011, up from $7.6 billion the year before.

"Even in the depths of a nationwide downturn, hospitals remain a strong and reliable source of jobs, salaries and spending that reverberate throughout our state," NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan said today in a statement.

Meanwhile, North Dakota hospitals provided roughly $4.7 billion in economic activity last year, HealthcareFinanceNews reported. The economic benefit had a ripple effect across the state with every dollar spent by hospitals generating an extra 68 cents in other businesses and industries.

A report issued by the North Dakota Hospital Association also noted the state's hospitals and health systems produced $3 billion net revenues this year, up 22.5 percent from 2010.

The state's 42 community hospitals are the largest non-government employer with more than 21,500 full-time-equivalent employees, according to the study. Of six the top employers in North Dakota, five are healthcare systems.

For more:
- read the NJHA statement and  report (.pdf)
- here's the HealthcareFinanceNews article