Rural hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities provided more than 1.25 million wage and salary jobs in 2011, accounting for 8.5 percent of rural wage and salary employment, says a new USDA report. Rural health care employment grew by 9 percent between 2001 and 2011 but fell 2 percent between 2011 and 2015 from effects of the overall recession, according to “Employment Spillover Effects of Rural Inpatient Healthcare Facilities,” by Cristina Miller, John Pender and Thomas Hertz of the Economic Research Service (ERS). “The health care industry is growing faster than any other U.S. industry and is projected to add the most jobs of any industry by 2024,” they say. Culling data from Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys and Census reports for 1,817 rural counties from the lower 48 states, the authors estimate that “micropolitan” counties (those including a core urban area of 10,000-49,999) experienced 10 percent growth in inpatient health care employment. “Non-core” counties (most rural counties with no urban area with more than 10,000 in population) saw jobs in this sector grow 3 percent. In all rural counties, most in-patient health care jobs are in hospitals (52.5 percent in more populous counties, 46.4 percent for most rural counties) and nursing care facilities (25 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively).