According to a comprehensive report from Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), “US Staffing Industry Forecast: September 2021 Update,” US staffing revenue will grow by 16% to reach a record $157.4 billion this year. Healthcare staffing outpaces even this increase thanks to a 40% expansion in the travel nurse segment, with a projected 24% year-over-year growth in 2021 to reach $24.7 billion. This projection represents a 17% increase over an earlier April forecast.

In the most recent September report, all other healthcare segments are also forecast for year-over-year growth. The per diem nurse segment is forecasted for 15% growth, locum tenens and advanced practitioners for 12% growth, and allied healthcare for 10% growth. Not every healthcare segment is expected to continue to grow in 2022, however. The same report calls for declines in the travel nurse and per diem nurse segment in 2022 based on easing pandemic-related responses and fewer opportunities for crisis pay rates. These drops are forecasted to contribute to a 9% overall decline despite continued, albeit slower, growth predicted for locum tenens and allied healthcare staffing.

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In SIA’s May 2021 article, “US Healthcare Staffing Market Assessment: Segment to Grow 7% This Year, Decline in 2022,” the US temporary healthcare staffing market growth rate was forecast as follows:

  • Travel nurse
    • 2020: 35%
    • 2021 (predicted): 10%
    • 2022 (predicted): –20%
  • Per diem nurse
    • 2020: 8%
    • 2021 (predicted): 5%
    • 2022 (predicted): –4%
  • Locum tenens
    • 2020: –15%
    • 2021 (predicted): 2%
    • 2022 (predicted): –12%
  • Allied health
    • 2020: –7%
    • 2021 (predicted): 5%
    • 2022 (predicted): –4%

The report noted that some positive healthcare staffing effects from the pandemic may stick. These positive effects include increased acceptance of multistate licensing and increased use of technology.