Health care brings huge economic value to Manatee County

The role that the hospitals in Manatee County have played over the years is immeasurable. We impact the quality of life, business and industry, and we are pivotal when businesses move to our area and choose Manatee as their community of choice.

One main quality-of-life factor is the availability and quality of health care services. Potential employees may resist moving to a community where there are substandard or inconveniently located health services. In addition, any business or industry making a location decision wants to ensure that the local labor force will be productive, and a key factor in productivity is good health.

Finally, the rising cost of health care services is always a consideration for businesses and industries looking to relocate. The existence of quality, effective and efficient health care services close to home can lower costs for businesses and their employees and provide value-added services for Manatee County.

Job growth

A factor important to the success of Manatee County development is job creation.

From 2010-16, employment in private health care services grew by 1,954 jobs (22 percent) and payroll increased from $485 million to $592 million in Manatee County. In comparison, employment in the private health care services industry in the state of Florida grew 18.3 percent during the same period. Employment in the hospital sector grew statewide by 13.6 percent to 288,839 jobs, with wages increasing $2.2 billion.

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Over the past 30 years, workers in health-related fields experienced significant gains in real wages. Interestingly, in the past six years, wages in the hospital sector increased 2.5 percent statewide. The same data indicate that employment in hospital and other medical services has been accompanied by the growth of disproportionately better-paying jobs.

In general, payroll and employment in the Florida health care sector, including rural regions, have grown consistently. Locally, job creation at the Manatee County hospitals has been impressive with a total of 3,000 jobs. When you include all health-related employers, behavioral health centers, physicians’ offices, outpatient centers and ambulatory care centers, there are more than 10,000 medical jobs in our county, with typically higher wages that are helping drive our economy.

▪ Florida’s share of U.S. Health Care Services GDP is slightly less than the state’s population share.

▪ Florida’s per capita health care spending level is 4.9 percent less than the U.S. as a whole.

▪ Together, these metrics indicate that healthcare is an increasingly dominant player in Florida’s economy, but the recent strengthening is not out of line with Florida’s population growth over the same period.

▪ The U.S. share of health care services is slightly above the 17-year average share of 6 percent; Florida is slightly higher at 7 percent. The gap began to widen in 2008, which means the health sector is increasingly more important to Florida’s economy.

Keeping local health care dollars at home

A strong health care industry plays a critical role in local economic development because it helps attract businesses, industries and retirees and it generates jobs and payroll. But the most important economic role the health care industry plays is keeping local health care dollars at home.

There are many sources of local healthcare dollars, including commercial and private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and other transfer payments, and consumer out-of-pocket payments to providers and businesses. If these expenditures leave the community (e.g., an individual who leaves Manatee County for medical care that could be obtained locally), they represent a potential loss of jobs and income. When payments for services and goods go outside the local community, there are repercussions for the entire local economy.

Health care employers and employees are important purchasers of goods and services, and they support local businesses and hospitals and other health-related business purchase local goods and services, such as laundry and waste management.

In summary, the health care sector and other businesses that comprise the local economy mutually support one another and are the vital to the strength and success of local economic development.

Kevin DiLallo, CEO of Manatee Healthcare System, has been a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives for over 25 years and has a passion for providing health care to his community. Email him at


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