American communities once reliant on the manufacturing industry are increasingly being supported by the growing healthcare sector, the Wall Street Journal reports. Over the past 10 years, the former paper-mill town of Bangor, Maine, lost 3,700 factory jobs—but gained 3,500 healthcare jobs, a hopeful sign for an economy teetering on the brink of recession.
The trend has helped many weather the general switch to a service economy. But the health industry is reliant on Medicare and Medicaid, and could ultimately deliver a weaker economy to places like Bangor. And wage inequality is much greater in hospitals than factories, with highly educated doctors commanding six-figure salaries while entry-level attendants work for minimum wage.