Health care entering 10-year growth spurt

March 01, 2002 |

Net dollars spent on health facility construction have not increased much, on net, during the past 10 years, especially when compared to the education subsector of the institutional market. But the last two years have been good ones for the health sector, and there are a number of reasons why growth rates are expected to accelerate during the next 10 years.

Total construction spending in the health care subsector of the institutional market was 4.4 percent greater through the first 11 months of 2001 than during the same period in 2000. Total spending for health care construction was $18.6 billion in 2000, an increase of 6.4 percent from the 1999 total.

Consolidation in the industry and system-wide cost-containment initiatives limited construction activity during the second half of the 1990s. But long-term demographic trends remained unambiguously positive for the nation's health care sector. Therefore, it wasn't surprising to see solid growth return in both 2000 and 2001. Now, with heightened public health concerns related to the threat of biological, chemical and nuclear terrorism, significantly increased levels of funding for the expansion and renovation of public health facilities over the next several years are likely.

Health care and computer-related fields are expected to be the two fastest-growing occupational specialties in this decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such increases for these occupational specialties point to the need for more space in health care settings for years to come.

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