Employment at US hospitals rose by 0.08% in January with a seasonally adjusted increase of 4,833,500 people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Hospitals employed 3,600 more seasonally adjusted people than the previous month and 73,000 more than the previous year, with is a 3.6% annual increase. Overall, the healthcare industry, which includes ambulatory healthcare services such as physician offices and outpatient care centers as well as hospitals and nursing facilities, saw a much greater annual increase of 22.8%. The healthcare industry saw its greatest increase in the ambulatory healthcare services (27.6%), particularly physician offices (9.2%). The data seems to contradict other reports that claim more physicians are leaving private practices in favor of hospital employment. A 2011 report from Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, estimates that in 2013, less than one-third of physicians will be independently employed. Just 13 years ago, in 2000, 57% of physicians were in private practice. However, to be fair, the BLS numbers include physicians, nurses, as well as other support staff, so perhaps they are not an accurate indicator of physician employment trends. Still, non-hospital healthcare jobs are significantly outpacing hospital jobs. A recent opinion piece in the New York Times discussed how hospitals and hospital worker unions are concerned that cost containment efforts are going to lead to more layoffs. The author, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, says those fears are misguided, and that cost containment could lead to growth in other, non-hospital healthcare sectors, which is consistent with the BLS data. At any rate, The BLS statistics show that the healthcare industry is still very strong. Retail trade and specialty trade contractors were the only industry sectors that outpaced healthcare in 2012, seeing 32.6% and 26.2% growth respectively. We’ll have to wait and see if the trend continues through 2013.