MISSOULA — New research from the University of Montana affirms what economists have been saying for some time now -- that the state's hospitals are pumping billions of dollars into local economies.
The report uses audited findings from 56 of the state's 60 non-governmental hospitals and shows them accounting for close to 12% of Montana's private sector employment and 13% of the total private-sector wages.
That generates nearly $84,000 permanent, year-round jobs across the state, over $6.3 billion in annual income, boiled down to $5.7 billion in disposable income after taxes. BBER says that generates more than $16-billion in added economic output, and in many counties makes health care the number one industry.
"They indicate that because of hospitals, these jobs are present in the economy," explained BBER Director Patrick Barkey. "If you look at employment in the most recent year of 2020, you can see that health care's share of total state jobs, just less than 16%, larger than any other major industry across the state. That dominance is even more apparent when you look at total wages paid."
Rich Rasmussen, the President and CEO of the Montana Hospital Association says the developed the report to help policymakers understand the importance of hospitals to their local communities, and says the data could help with more targeted local health care planning.