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TABLE 4.1 Number of Full-Time and Part-Time Employees in Nursing Occupations, United States, Selected Years, 1983–1993
Percent Change 1983–1993
Total, all occupations
Licensed practical nurse
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry-Occupation Matrix.
in 1992, an employment rate of nearly 83 percent (Moses, 1994). This compares with about 66 percent for the total U.S. labor force and almost 59 percent for the female labor force (Bureau of the Census, 1995a). Most RNs are women; in 1992 only about 4 percent of the employed RNs were men. Although very small in numbers, the rate of growth since 1988 among men has been faster than among women (Moses, 1994).
Of the 17 percent of RNs who were not working in nursing in 1992, slightly more than 1 percent were actively seeking employment in nursing. The largest portion of those not employed in nursing was not actively looking for jobs in nursing and had not worked in nursing for at least 5 years. Moreover, more than half of those not employed in nursing were 60 years of age and older (Moses, 1994).4
Unemployment rates for RNs were slightly higher in 1994 than they had been for a number of years. Nevertheless, the rates have been consistently lower than the average of 2.5 percent for all professional occupations and 2.9 percent for teachers. Table 4.2 shows trends in unemployment rates for nursing personnel.
Characteristics of RNs
Age Composition of RNs The average age of RNs in 1992 was 43.1 years, representing a continuing increase in average age since 1980. Although some of this increase is to be expected because of the overall aging of the U.S. labor force
Most of the data on nurse supply presented here are from the 1992 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses and its predecessor surveys. For a detailed description of the registered nurse supply, the reader is referred to the reports of these surveys. These surveys are conducted periodically by the Division of Nursing of the U. S. Public Health Service under Section 951 of P.L. 94-63. The last comprehensive national sample survey of registered nurses was conducted in March 1992.