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February 2023 Travel RN Wage Trends by State

Following the announcement that the Biden administration plans to allow the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to expire on May 11, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced in early February its roadmap to transition away from the PHE in effect during much of the pandemic. This announcement signals that the “new normal” may finally come to pass.

Since the latest Omicron surge peaked in January, daily reported COVID-19 cases are down 92% nationwide. New COVID-related hospitalizations have dropped by nearly 80% and COVID-related deaths are down by more than 80% across the nation. While the DHSS emphasized that its response to the spread of COVID-19 will remain a priority, certain changes will occur now that it feels the country is in a better place than it was three years ago.

Travel nurse wage trends resembled a roller coaster for nearly three years but have plunged since the pandemic highs. As the threat of severe respiratory illnesses from COVID-19 seems to finally be in the past, travel RN wages in 2023 continue to wane in many states. While 19 states saw healthcare travel pay drop in January, 33 states recorded decreased wages in February. As confidence that the pandemic is indeed over continues to rise among the public and healthcare systems, travel salaries may continue to drop or stabilize as predicted. The largest fluctuation in pay was barely above 5% as more states had changes of less than 1%.

States With Wage Increases

Like the first month of the year, few states posted travel wage increases in February. While January travel RN wages were up in nine states, only four posted gains this month. Of those, none saw increases above 2%. Nevada had the highest bump of 1.8%, basically making up for the 1.5% drop the state recorded in January. During the final four months of 2022, the state posted insignificant changes in all but November 2022, when healthcare travel pay for RNs rose 1.5%.

Of the other three states with increases this month, South Dakota and Massachusetts both had negligible fluctuations of less than 1% in January. But February marked the second consecutive month that healthcare travel pay for nurses in Alaska saw a slight bump. Wages rose 2.7% in the state last month, with another 1.2% increase in February.

 

State

January Average Weekly Pay

February Average Weekly Pay

Percent Increase

Nevada

$2,846

$2,899

1.8%

South Dakota

$2,664

$2,702

1.4%

Massachusetts

$2,944

$2,984

1.3%

Alaska

$2,893

$2,927

1.2%

 

States With Wage Decreases

The distinct downward trend seen in December 2022 healthcare travel wages somewhat continued in January. However, 33 states posted decreased pay in December, while only 19 dropped in January. By February, numbers were back up, with 32 states recording a decrease. On the plus side, 17 of these states had reductions of less than 2%. Thus, more than half had drops resulting in smaller pay cuts between $25 and $49 per week.

Oklahoma had the most significant drop in travel RN wages this month at 5.2%, resulting in a $114 reduction in weekly pay. February marked the third month in a row that healthcare travel pay for nurses dropped in Oklahoma, with decreases of 2.4% in January and 2.9% in December. However, the state had increases of 2.3% in November and 2.4% in October, almost countering two of the three declines.

 

State

January Average Weekly Pay 

February Average Weekly Pay

Percent Decrease

Oklahoma

$2,306

$2,192

-5.2%

Vermont

$2,842

$2,716

-4.6%

New York

$3,007

$2,874

-4.6%

Pennsylvania

$2,860

$2,742

-4.3%

Montana

$2,438

$2,347

-3.9%

Michigan

$2,565

$2,470

-3.9%

Indiana

$2,624

$2,527

-3.8%

New Jersey

$3,070

$2,957

-3.8%

Missouri

$2,393

$2,314

-3.4%

Delaware

$2,904

$2,810

-3.3%

South Carolina

$2,335

$2,267

-3.0%

Arizona

$2,716

$2,640

-2.9%

Mississippi

$2,428

$2,371

-2.4%

Illinois

$2,751

$2,693

-2.1%

Idaho

$2,610

$2,557

-2.1%

Iowa

$2,520

$2,472

-1.9%

Maryland

$2,650

$2,601

-1.9%

Louisiana

$2,348

$2,307

-1.8%

Rhode Island

$2,567

$2,524

-1.7%

New Hampshire

$2,582

$2,540

-1.7%

Washington

$2,907

$2,859

-1.7%

Wyoming

$2,958

$2,909

-1.7%

North Carolina

$2,411

$2,372

-1.7%

Kansas

$2,367

$2,331

-1.5%

Hawaii

$2,652

$2,615

-1.4%

Oregon

$2,952

$2,912

-1.4%

West Virginia

$2,665

$2,629

-1.4%

Maine

$2,688

$2,655

-1.3%

Texas

$2,325

$2,297

-1.2%

New Mexico

$2,533

$2,504

-1.1%

Tennessee

$2,286

$2,261

-1.1%

Nebraska

$2,641

$2,615

-1.0%

 

States Where Wages Stayed the Same

With changes of less than 1%, wages in the remaining 14 states stayed relatively the same. Salaries remaining the same confirm that travel RN wages in 2023 may stabilize as indicated in the 2023 healthcare staffing predictions, at least in some states.

However, eight fewer states remained the same this month compared to January. Furthermore, Virginia and Arkansas, with their increases of 0.9%, and Utah, with its decrease of 0.9%, barely remained on the “unchanged” list. Last month Virginia dropped 0.9%, demonstrating greater stability than the other two states. Travel nurse salaries dropped 2% in Arkansas and rose 5.9% in Utah in January. This measurable movement counters the wage stabilization prediction.

 

State

January Average Weekly Pay

February Average Weekly Pay

Percent Changed

Virginia

$2,542

$2,566

0.9%

Arkansas

$2,311

$2,332

0.9%

Connecticut

$2,768

$2,786

0.6%

California

$3,402

$3,418

0.5%

Florida

$2,111

$2,116

0.3%

Alabama

$2,178

$2,183

0.2%

Ohio

$2,663

$2,664

0.1%

Georgia

$2,434

$2,426

-0.3%

Minnesota

$2,950

$2,930

-0.7%

Wisconsin

$2,735

$2,714

-0.8%

Colorado

$2,602

$2,582

-0.8%

Kentucky

$2,659

$2,638

-0.8%

North Dakota

$2,880

$2,857

-0.8%

Utah

$2,668

$2,644

-0.9%

Average salary data based on travel RN jobs posted on Vivian Health during the complete month of February compared to the jobs posted during the complete month of January 2023

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Moira K. McGhee

Moira K. McGhee

Moira K. McGhee is Vivian’s Content Writer & Editor. As part of the Vivian Health team, she strives to help support the empowerment of nurses and other medical professionals in their pursuits to find top-notch travel, staff, per diem and local contract jobs.

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