Forecast calls for drop in demand for traveling nurses

Demand for traveling nurses spiked during the pandemic, with some earning up to $10,000 a week in parts of the U.S. Due to rising wages, HCA Healthcare sharply lowered its full-year guidance earlier this year. At the same time, shares of temporary medical staff providers Cross Country Healthcare and AMN Healthcare Services more than doubled over the past five years.

However, according to a July 27 report from The Wall Street Journal, the traveling nurse market may be in decline. 

HCA's Friday release of second-quarter profits that beat Wall Street estimates reaffirmed its full-year outlook, increasing its stock 11 percent. Meanwhile, Tenet Healthcare saw gains of 6 percent after markets closed on Thursday. 

HCA CEO Sam Hazen said expenses for temporary staff were down about 22 percent in June compared with April, and HCA CFO Bill Rutherford predicted that "over the course of the year, we’ll continue to see hopefully a reduction in the utilization of that contract labor."

After HCA and Tenet released their results, Cross Country's stock plummeted 17 percent while AMN fell 11 percent.

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