In our June traveler job market predictions, we talked about the “summer stall”—less new job postings, more competition for every job and more interest in atypical summer job states. Based on StaffDNA job board data, two of our predictions were on target.
Job application volume increase by nearly 20 percent from May to June, marking the most active month since January. What we didn’t expect was for supply to match pace with demand.
Hospital systems in many states, including popular summer destinations like California and Virginia, bounced back after the late-May and early-June slump.
Part of this can be linked to vacation plans for permanent hospital staff, according to travel agency sales staff sources. As the regular staff takes off for the summer or cuts back on hours, that provides opportunities for travelers to fill the gaps.
We expect for this market momentum to stay strong in July, as travelers who took time off in June will be planning ahead for the start of the school season in August or to find a fall contract in September.
The back-to-school rush marks a yearly milestone for many travelers with children or grandchildren. They will typically take a break during the summer for childcare, and return to hospitals once the kids are back in school.
“The experienced travelers know it can take four to six weeks to find and start a job, so they start the search for an agency and position mid-summer,” said Kate Quinn of LiquidAgents Healthcare.
Let’s take a look at what we learned from our top markets for June.
Rankings barely shift as travelers settle in for the summer
While April and May saw a lot of “movement” in terms of where healthcare travelers applied across the country, ranking shifts were much more conservative in June, despite the high application volume.
Most states moved up or down the list by 5 ranks or less, and five states—North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin and Washington—didn’t move at all.
We expect the list to remain mostly stable for July, August and potentially in early fall, as traveler won’t start making big moves until we get closer to the holiday season.
Michigan, Missouri, Virginia enter the Top 10
For the first time this year, Missouri joined the likes of Texas, California and Florida in the top 10, moving up two spots from May to No. 9.
Virginia moved back up as anticipated, jumping up five ranks to No. 10 on the list. The state is both a top travel destination for summer 2018 and one of the top five highest paying travel nurse states in the U.S.
Montana, Wyoming climb the charts; Connecticut drops to dead last
Montana and Wyoming both moved up seven ranks to take the No. 41 and 42 slots, respectively, while Connecticut dropped 16 spots to the bottom of our list.
Connecticut has consistently ranked in the bottom half of the list for job board applications. It’s also one of the most expensive states to work in as a traveler because of the high regional cost of living and low average pay packages.
Interest in Maine uncertain as Medicaid expansion remains in flux
Enrollment for the voter-approved Medicaid expansion was supposed to roll out on July 2, which would have provided a $500 million shot in the arm for healthcare funding in the state and coverage for more than 70,000 eligible recipients.
Pending litigation surrounding the expansion has left the issue in limbo. A Maine judge forced Gov. Paul LePage to submit an expansion plan to the federal government by June 11, but LePage’s administration submitted an appeal for the ruling. While the appeal is pending, LePage also vetoed the expansion bill this week.
Because of the political turmoil, it’s uncertain whether the expansion will have an impact on the Maine traveler job market as expected.
June’s Top Markets
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New York
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
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