The Recession's Effect on Hospital Registered Nurse Employment Growth


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Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYRecessions are not uncommon in the United States, but the most recent recession is arguably the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.Although recessions result in increases in national unemployment in most sectors of the economy, they have resulted in increases in registered nurse (RN) employment as many non-working married RNs reenter the workforce when their spouses lose their jobs.Over the past decade, hospital RN employment increased by more than 400,000 with virtually all of this growth associated with the two recessions that occurred during this period.The most recent recession led to an increase in hospital RN employment that was not only unprecedented in size, estimated at nearly 250,000, but was marked by the employment of large numbers of RNs over 50 years of age.While national unemployment rates remain high, hospitals should prepare for an eventual jobs recovery when many RNs are likely to leave the workforce.

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