June 2022 Travel Wage Trends by State

Travel healthcare wages throughout the pandemic closely followed the rise and fall of COVID-19 surges nationwide. Travel nurses were in particularly high demand because they serve critical roles in delivering care to Covid and non-Covid patients. Now, they’re part of the decline in travel healthcare trends nationwide.

Uncertainty over Travel Healthcare Wages 

Many hospitals are shifting from travel workers to focus on plumping their permanent, full-time healthcare workforce. Travel nurses experiencing pay cuts mid-contract or contract cancellations aren’t as eager to sign on the dotted line under so much uncertainty. Health systems that enthusiastically embraced travel nurses to fill staffing shortages have lost state and federal funding that helped them hire temporary staff. They’re also faced with the daunting task of replacing healthcare professionals who retired early or left the field entirely due to burnout, stress and fatigue brought on by a nearly non-stop battle with coronavirus infections for over two years. 

With frequent wage and contract changes, it’s not surprising to see declining travel trends across the nation. Some travel workers are ready to come home. Others are contemplating returning to staff positions that offer more stability. However, some nurses and healthcare professionals aren’t ready to give up traveling. Travel nursing still pays more than staff positions, and healthcare travel wages remain higher than pre-pandemic wages in many areas of the country. 

 

Covid Impacts on Healthcare Travel Pay

The nation suffered a particularly harsh start to 2022. Steadily climbing Covid cases caused by more contagious variants had most states reporting increased healthcare travel pay in January. However, cases and wages began falling in February and continued through March when all 50 states reported a drop in healthcare travel wages. 

April saw Covid hospitalizations stabilize further and travel contracts that were once plentiful and lucrative began to dwindle. Only Minnesota saw healthcare wages increase in April. Covid cases remained steady throughout May, but healthcare travel pay rose in five states, potentially signaling a comeback. Despite recent falls in cases and pay, June travel wages continued to see positive jumps in several states. Healthcare travel pay remained relatively unchanged in several other states but plummeted in one. 

 

States With Wage Increases 

Overall, the nation saw daily average COVID-19 cases slightly rise again in June. The daily case average on June 1 was 101,571, rising to 114,000 by month-end. However, case numbers were likely higher as residents testing at home often fail to self-report positive results, and super mild cases that go unnoticed also go unreported. 

On July 4, reported cases indicated a 10% increase nationwide over the past two weeks, covering a big chunk of the last part of June. Covid-related hospitalizations also increased by 12%, ICU cases were up 11%, and deaths rose by 25% over the past 14 days nationwide. Seven states reported increases in travel healthcare wages in June, two more than in May

  • Delaware had the largest increase in healthcare travel pay in June at 3.6%. Its increase was about 0.5% more than the biggest jump recording in May in Massachusetts. The state’s rise in wages doesn’t fully counter the 11.2% drop it recorded in May, the second-highest decrease last month. Delaware has only seen a 1% increase in Covid cases over the past two weeks, so other factors may have impacted its wage increase. 

State

Avg Weekly Pay May

Avg Weekly Pay June

% Increase

Delaware

$2,276

$2,360

3.6%

Wyoming

$2,732

$2,807

2.7%

Minnesota

$2,681

$2,736

2.0%

Michigan

$2,462

$2,509

1.9%

Texas

$2,029

$2,065

1.8%

California

$2,907

$2,952

1.5%

West Virginia

$2,722

$2,754

1.1%


States With Wage Decreases 

Following a drop in healthcare wages in all 50 states in March, all but two states reported another decrease in travel wages in April. Only 36 states recorded an additional decline in May, but four had double-digit drops. Of those four, most significant reduction at 12.4%. The state continued the trend by ranking first again in June with the only double-digit decrease for the month. Overall, 27 states saw travel healthcare pay go down in June.

  •  Maryland posted a significant dip of 19.2% in healthcare travel wages for June. Covid cases in Maryland have risen 2% over the past two weeks, but Covid-related hospitalizations, ICU patients and deaths have all dropped. Maryland is one of several states attempting to pass legislation to prevent price gouging on essential goods and services, such as the elevated amounts charged by travel nursing agencies that many believe never made it into the nurses’ pockets. Maryland was the only state in June with average weekly travel healthcare pay under $2,000. After the state’s significant decrease, average wages for June were $1,763 per week. 

State

Avg Weekly Pay May

Avg Weekly Pay June

% Increase

Maryland

$2,102

$1,763

-19.2%

New Hampshire

$2,250

$2,076

-8.4%

Rhode Island

$2,638

$2,476

-6.6%

Wisconsin

$2,319

$2,192

-5.8%

Vermont

$2,585

$2,467

-4.8%

Florida

$2,142

$2,048

-4.6%

Connecticut

$2,255

$2,157

-4.5%

Maine

$2,447

$2,344

-4.4%

South Carolina

$2,325

$2,231

-4.2%

Kentucky

$2,549

$2,453

-3.9%

Montana

$2,543

$2,454

-3.7%

Arkansas

$2,436

$2,362

-3.2%

Louisiana

$2,440

$2,374

-2.8%

South Dakota

$2,809

$2,739

-2.6%

Indiana

$2,524

$2,471

-2.1%

Iowa

$2,466

$2,415

-2.1%

North Dakota

$2,626

$2,572

-2.1%

New Mexico

$2,547

$2,500

-1.9%

Washington

$2,761

$2,712

-1.8%

Arizona

$2,656

$2,610

-1.8%

Idaho

$2,378

$2,341

-1.6%

Nebraska

$2,558

$2,522

-1.4%

Georgia

$2,259

$2,229

-1.3%

Oklahoma

$2,176

$2,147

-1.3%

Virginia

$2,458

$2,427

-1.3%

Oregon

$2,865

$2,831

-1.2%

Illinois

$2,619

$2,587

-1.2%


States That Stayed the Same

Relatively stabilized Covid cases seem to be having a similar stabilizing effect on travel healthcare wages. June had 16 states with healthcare wage fluctuations of less than 1%, placing them in the unchanged category. This marks the greatest number of states with relatively unchanged travel healthcare wages over the current 12-month period. Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama actually recorded a 0% change in average weekly wages. 

State

Avg Weekly Pay May

Avg Weekly Pay June

% Increase

Missouri

$2,059

$2,072

0.6%

New York

$2,699

$2,711

0.5%

Massachusetts

$2,633

$2,638

0.2%

Ohio

$2,675

$2,678

0.1%

Pennsylvania

$2,583

$2,584

0.1%

Mississippi

$2,255

$2,256

0.1%

Tennessee

$2,332

$2,332

0.0%

North Carolina

$2,365

$2,364

0.0%

Alabama

$2,085

$2,084

0.0%

Alaska

$2,687

$2,678

-0.3%

Colorado

$2,442

$2,434

-0.3%

Kansas

$2,230

$2,219

-0.5%

Nevada

$2,713

$2,700

-0.5%

Hawaii

$2,532

$2,515

-0.6%

Utah

$2,287

$2,271

-0.7%

New Jersey

$2,674

$2,651

-0.9%


Schedule a demo with Vivian Health to learn how we can help you meet your permanent, local contract, travel, and per diem hiring goals.

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.

Want new articles every week? Subscribe now

See how Vivian can help you meet your hiring goals

Schedule a demo