Manufacturing's Unemployed Find Work at the Hospital

The healthcare sector's growth could help mitigate US slowdown
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2008 2:41 PM CDT
Barack Obama tours the Johnstown Wire Factory in Johnstown, Pa., Saturday, March 29, 2008. A Democratic president in 2008 could further boost the health care sector's growth.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – 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.