The Recession's Effect on Hospital Registered Nurse Employment Growth

Peter I. Buerhaus PhD, RN, FAAN; David I. Auerbach PhD, MS


Nurs Econ. 2011;29(4):163-167. 

In This Article


Recessions are not uncommon in the U.S. economy and the past decade had not one, but two recessions. The second and most recent recession was an especially severe downturn mark ed by many months of unemployment rates well above 9% and job losses far exceeding 8 million. Unemployment rates today still hover above 9%, and it is reasonable to anticipate relatively high unemployment rates will linger for several years and continue to stimulate high RN participation in the hospital labor market. While there is little hospitals can do to influence the rate of jobs recovery in the larger economy, they must not become complacent and lulled into inactivity by the current absence of RN shortages. Rather, this period of high RN participation offers hospital leaders the opportunity to prepare for an eventual jobs recovery that will increase the likelihood many currently employed RNs over the age of 50 may leave their positions entirely or reduce their hours worked.


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