Key Findings:

 

  • Employment grew in both hospital and non-hospital settings
  • Sharp jump in employment among younger age RNs

 

Chart showing increase in Total Full-time Equivalent RNs

Source: Authors’ analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey

 

During the first three months of 2017, the number of registered nurses (RNs) working as full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the United States stood at 3.3 million, essentially the same number of FTE RNs that where employed in the 4th quarter of 2016.  These data include Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

 

Chart showing increase in FTE RN-Employment in Hospital Non-Hospital Settings

Source: Authors’ analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey

 

Analysis of FTE RN employment by major employment sector shows that employment in hospitals continued to increase in the 2nd quarter of 2017, growing by 87,000, reaching a record-high of 2.1 million RNs.  Non-hospital FTE RNs employment increased by about 35,000 over the 2nd quarter. The two sectors have been growing steadily over the last several years.

 

Chart showing increase in FTE RNs by Age Group

Source: Authors’ analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey

 

Employment of RNs age 35 and under increased in the 2nd quarter of 2017 to 1,020,000, an increase of over 80,000 FTEs since the first quarter of 2017. The number of FTE RNs age 35-49 increased slightly to 1.23 million, while RNs age 50 and over have remained steady at approximately 1.18 million. This growth reflects rapid entry into the RN workforce of Millennials.

 

Chart showing decrease in Hourly Wage FTE RNs

Source: Authors’ analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey

 

The average hourly wage for FTE RNs decreased slightly in the second quarter of 2017, but the wage level appears to have stabilized or even grown slightly after a declining trend from 2005 to 2014. There are large fluctuations in hourly wage data due to limited sample size of the quarterly data.