Nevada’s healthcare industry has been one of the state’s fastest growing economic sectors in recent years, easily outpacing the growth of Nevada’s economy as a whole. However, despite this strong and steady growth, Nevada continues to have a significantly smaller healthcare sector compared to the national average, both in terms of healthcare GDP per capita and the industry’s share of overall GDP. While the sector’s relatively small size has in some ways impacted the efficacy of the state’s healthcare system as the population has grown, it is also an indication of potential growth opportunities for an industry that has been resilient even during recessionary periods.
In 2016 Nevada’s healthcare and social assistance industry contributed $8.9 billion to the state’s GDP, roughly 6 percent of Nevada’s total output, up from 4.2 percent in 2005. Much of healthcare’s gain relative to the rest of the state economy came during the Great Recession and subsequent downturn. Between 2005 and 2012 the state averaged 0.8 percent annual GDP growth, weighed down by the negative recession years. During the same period the healthcare sector grew 4.9 percent annually, and it has grown even faster in the years since, expanding by 5.9 percent annually between 2013 and 2016. Despite this rapid expansion, Nevada’s healthcare industry’s relative size trails that of the national healthcare sector, which accounts for 7.4 percent of U.S. GDP.
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