Class, Employment, and the US Health Care System


Grant Martsolf, Brendan Case, and Joanne Spetz

May 25, 2022

In 1970, health care constituted 7% of gross domestic product, but now represents nearly 20%. Conversely, in 1970, manufacturing accounted for 24% of the economy and now represents 11%. Health care recently passed manufacturing as the largest sector in the United States’ economy. It is incumbent on health care systems to make entry-level health care jobs rewarding, high, paying, and open to advancement. Such investment is essential to supporting the working-class communities in which the systems operate and upon which they depend for their workforce.