October 2021 Travel Nursing Wage Trends by State

After booster shots began rolling out in September, COVID-19 cases saw a decline in October, potentially factoring into healthcare wage trends for the month. At the beginning of October, the seven-day average of COVID cases nationwide was 109,200 compared to the month ending average of 71,686. The number of newly reported cases was 125,776 on October 1 compared to just 18,883 on October 31. However, certain areas of the country may have still been experiencing overcrowded hospitals that impacted the supply and demand of nurses and the current healthcare wages of these vital healthcare workers. Consider COVID case numbers when comparing healthcare wage trends in all 50 states for nurses in October.

States With Wage Increases

Compared to September wage trends when all 50 states recorded an increase in healthcare wages, only 38 states saw healthcare wages increase in October. However, five of these increases were small enough to be considered basically unchanged compared to the previous month. The remaining 33 states had an increase of at least 1% in healthcare wages between September and October.

  • Alaska’s healthcare wages rose 9.6%, placing it first among states with the largest increase between September and October. Previously, healthcare wage trends indicated the state had a substantial increase of 51.6% between August 1st and August 30th. When comparing average weekly healthcare pay rates for the month of September to August, Alaska had the second-highest increase at 20.1%. Despite the lower percentage in October, Alaska retook first place for having the largest wage increases among states. The percentages are getting much smaller nationwide.

  • Oregon had the second-highest healthcare wage increase in October compared to September wages. Oregon’s average weekly rate for the month of September compared to wages in August indicated its healthcare pay rates had risen 9.2%. This increase ranked it in the lower half of the states for September. In October, Oregon’s average weekly rate compared to September’s was 7.9%. Despite being a smaller increase than the previous month, it represented a larger increase than 48 other states. Oregon recorded 1,655 new COVID cases on October 1st, which reached a monthly high of 3,260 on October 18.

  • Rounding out the top three states with the highest healthcare pay rate increases in October is Pennsylvania. The state was number eight in the nation in September with a much higher increase of 16.9% and in August, it wasn’t even in the top 10 with an increase of 22.7%. It garnered third place in October with an increase of just 5.9%, further indicating that healthcare wage trends may be heading for a major slowdown in increases. Pennsylvania started October with 5,352 new COVID cases but posted a monthly high of 6,289 on October 3rd.

Alaska takes top spot for highest wage increase in October

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay September

Avg Weekly Pay October

Percent Increase

Alaska

$3,142 

$3,477

9.6%

Oregon

$2,810

$3,051

7.9%

Pennsylvania

$2,909

$3,093

5.9%

Rhode Island

$2,772

$2,943

5.8%

Illinois

$2,859

$3,031

5.7%

Iowa

$2,777

$2,942

5.6%

Nevada

$2,846

$3,004

5.3%

North Dakota

$3,278

$3,456

5.2%

Connecticut

$2,615

$2,755

5.1%

West Virginia

$2,596

$2,734

5.1%

Wyoming

$2,702

$2,848

5.1%

Massachusetts

$2,572

$2,706

5.0%

Nebraska

$2,705

$2,834

4.6%

New Hampshire

$2,638

$2,763

4.5%

Washington

$2,898

$3,032

4.4%

Colorado

$2,738

$2,856

4.1%

New Jersey

$3,312

$3,451

4.0%

Kentucky

$2,807

$2,921

3.9%

North Carolina

$2,912

$3,032

3.9%

Minnesota

$2,775

$2,882

3.7%

Maine

$2,923

$3,033

3.6%

Ohio

$2,702

$2,797

3.4%

South Dakota

$2,983

$3,082

3.2%

Wisconsin

$2,691

$2,780

3.2%

New York

$2,883

$2,973

3.0%

Maryland

$2,781

$2,855

2.6%

Delaware

$2,810

$2,879

2.4%

California

$3,047

$3,119

2.3%

Michigan

$2,771

$2,835

2.3%

Virginia

$2,645

$2,706

2.3%

Oklahoma

$2,767

$2,801

1.2%

Vermont

$2,934

$2,968

1.2%

Montana

$2,597

$2,626

1.1%

 

States With Wage Decreases

 

Based on a comparison of the average weekly healthcare pay rate for the months of September and October, 12 states saw healthcare wages drop. However, eight of these states had decreases that were small enough to be considered unchanged for the month of October overall. The following four states had wages drop at least 1% between September and October.

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay September

Avg Weekly Pay October

Percent Increase

Louisiana

$2,782

$2,551

-9.0%

Florida

$2,894

$2,706

-6.9%

New Mexico

$3,274

$3,166

-3.4%

Arizona

$2,986 

$2,949

-1.2%

 

States That Stayed the Same

Healthcare wages in 13 states stayed relatively the same in October compared to September. Because the change was less than 1%, the wage trend was marked as unchanged for the month. Of those listed, five indicated minor increases in healthcare pay while the remaining eight had minor decreases.

 

State

Avg Weekly Pay September

Avg Weekly Pay October

Percent Increase

Indiana

$2,954

$2,981

0.90%

Utah

$2,503

$2,524

0.80%

Texas

$2,561

$2,577

0.60%

Hawaii

$2,312

$2,319

0.30%

Kansas

$2,623

$2,627

0.10%

Missouri

$2,874

$2,864

-0.40%

Arkansas

$2,943

$2,927

-0.50%

South Carolina

$2,938

$2,920

-0.60%

Georgia

$3,249

$3,226

-0.70%

Idaho

$3,324

$3,300

-0.70%

Tennessee

$2,678

$2,657

-0.80%

Alabama

$2,889

$2,864

-0.90%

Mississippi

$2,570

$2,547

-0.90%


Schedule a demo with Vivian Health to learn how we can help you meet your 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