Publications / Policy Memo

The Next Ten Million Jobs: Energizing the Physical Industries in the Heartland States

By / 10.16.2017

We start with a healthy dose of reality: Since 2000, healthcare and education have been the main sources of private-sector job growth, both nationally and in the heartland states.

From home health aides to technicians to physicians, from child care helpers to well-paid professors in private colleges, private-sector healthcare and education jobs have provided a welcome safety net for otherwise turbulent labor markets, since they receive substantial funding via government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and federal student loans, and are not easily subject to globalization or automation.

But we believe a prosperous future for Americans requires much more than healthcare and education. For one, the rapid expansion of the private-sector healthcare and education workforces is the major reason healthcare and education costs are rising so quickly. Getting the cost of healthcare under control will necessarily involve slowing the rate of healthcare hiring. Second, it’s important to diversify the local economic base, and not rely on just two industries that are substantially supported by taxpayer money.


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