November 2021 Travel Nursing Wage Trends by State

November brought the unfortunate discovery that a new variant of COVID-19 was now in the United States. Omicron is the latest threat from a virus that has been stretching the healthcare industry to the ultimate limits, often causing healthcare facilities to be filled beyond capacity and staff to be overwhelmed. The first known Omicron case was discovered about mid-November, but the fast-spreading variant had already been detected in 19 states by the beginning of December and the number was expected to rise. Adding to the mix was the holiday season when people across the nation travel more to be with family and participate in larger, primarily indoor get-togethers that increase the risk of spreading the virus. Healthcare wage trends usually follow demand and higher COVID cases often fuel this demand. However, ongoing increases in healthcare pay rates are shrinking despite these latest concerns.

States With Wage Increases

Healthcare wages for nurses in November continue to trend upwards in most states but wage trends also show that these increases are becoming increasingly smaller. September’s highest wage increase was 38.9% compared to the previous month, while October’s highest increase was just 9.6%. In November, the highest wage increase was even smaller at only 6.7%. Although 40 states saw average weekly healthcare pay rates increase compared to October, 10 of them had increases of less than 1% so they were considered unchanged. The top three spots were dominated by states that were new to these positions.

  • Maine barely had the highest increase in average weekly healthcare wages in November at 6.7%. However, this was an improvement over October’s increase of 3.6%. Like many states, Maine had a higher increase in September, which was 17.2%. Maine began November with zero new COVID-19 cases but had 224 patients hospitalized with the virus. By the end of the month, the state reported 914 new cases and 351 hospitalized COVID patients 

  • Nebraska had the second-highest healthcare pay rate increase, which came in at 6.5%. Like Maine, this was an improvement over its increase of 4.6% in October but lower than its increase of 12% in September. Nebraska had 1,471 new COVID cases reported on November 1. Following four days with zero new cases reported, the state recorded a high of 3,026 new cases on November 29 and another 1,444 cases on November 30. Hospitalized COVID patients rose from 433 at the beginning of the month to 573 at the end.

  • Maryland tied with Rhode Island for the third-highest increase in healthcare wages. Both states saw a 5.7% improvement. For Maryland, this was more than double its increase of 2.6% in October but not nearly as good as its increase of 14.6% in September. The state recorded 448 new COVID cases on November 1 and a high of 2,803 on November 27 with another 1,244 on November 30. It had 751 hospitalized COVID patients on the first and 899 at the end of the month.

  • Rhode Island’s increase in November was nearly identical to its increase of 5.8% in October when it almost broke into the top three but landed in fourth place. In September, it was in fifth place with its healthcare pay rate increase of 18.5%. Rhode Island had 558 new COVID cases at the beginning of November, a high of 2,412 on November 29, and 788 more cases on the last day of the month. It had 75 patients hospitalized with COVID on November 1, which had doubled to 152 by November 30.

Maine barely had the highest increase in average weekly healthcare wages in November

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay October

Avg Weekly Pay November

Percent Increase

Maine

$3,033

$3,250

6.7%

Nebraska

$2,834

$3,033

6.5%

Maryland

$2,855

$3,027

5.7%

Rhode Island

$2,943

$3,121

5.7%

Minnesota

$2,882

$3,048

5.4%

Colorado

$2,856

$3,014

5.2%

New Hampshire

$2,763

$2,909

5.0%

Washington

$3,032

$3,192

5.0%

Pennsylvania

$3,093

$3,244

4.7%

Indiana

$2,981

$3,113

4.3%

West Virginia

$2,734

$2,852

4.1%

Oregon

$3,051

$3,178

4.0%

Massachusetts

$2,706

$2,816

3.9%

Wyoming

$2,848

$2,957

3.7%

Vermont

$2,968

$3,076

3.5%

Michigan

$2,835

$2,934

3.3%

Iowa

$2,942

$3,038

3.2%

Virginia

$2,706

$2,793

3.1%

Illinois

$3,031

$3,121

2.9%

Connecticut

$2,755

$2,833

2.7%

Nevada

$3,004

$3,076

2.4%

Texas

$2,577

$2,632

2.1%

Montana

$2,626

$2,680

2.0%

Kansas

$2,627

$2,677

1.9%

Arkansas

$2,927

$2,980

1.8%

Hawaii

$2,319

$2,354

1.5%

North Dakota

$3,456

$3,510

1.5%

Arizona

$2,949

$2,992

1.4%

Delaware

$2,879

$2,917

1.3%

Idaho

$3,300

$3,336

1.1%

States With Wage Decreases

After at least four consecutive months of posting increases in healthcare wages, Alaska tied with Alabama for having the second-highest decrease in average weekly pay rates for the month of November. Georgia barely edged out the two states to post the highest drop in healthcare pay rates at 3.7%. Unlike Alaska, both Georgia and Alabama had already posted small decreases in wages in October. A total of 10 states had wage decreases in November but three were minor and listed as relatively unchanged in the final table below.

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay October

Avg Weekly Pay November

Percent Increase

Georgia

$3,226

$3,110

-3.7%

Alabama

$2,864

$2,768

-3.5%

Alaska

$3,477

$3,359

-3.5%

New Jersey

$3,451

$3,376

-2.2%

Florida

$2,706

$2,655

-1.9%

New Mexico

$3,166

$3,110

-1.8%

South Carolina

$2,920

$2,880

-1.4%

 

States That Stayed the Same

A total of 13 states had increases of less than 1%, placing them on the list of states with wages that were relatively unchanged in November compared to October. While this is the same number of states that was on this list in October, the spread is slightly different. In October, five states had increases of less than 1% and eight had decreases. Alternately, in November, 10 states had increases of less than 1% and three had decreases.

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay October

Avg Weekly Pay November

Percent Increase

Ohio

$2,797

$2,821

0.90%

New York

$2,973

$2,997

0.80%

Kentucky

$2,921

$2,942

0.70%

Tennessee

$2,657

$2,670

0.50%

Wisconsin

$2,780

$2,794

0.50%

Mississippi

$2,547

$2,555

0.30%

Oklahoma

$2,801

$2,809

0.30%

South Dakota

$3,082

$3,091

0.30%

Utah

$2,524

$2,531

0.30%

Missouri

$2,864

$2,860

0.10%

California

$3,119

$3,106

-0.40%

North Carolina

$3,032

$3,016

-0.50%

Louisiana

$2,551

$2,531

-0.80%

 

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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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