TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Across the U.S., nurses on average make a wage of $82,750 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the state of Florida, the average salary for a nurse is reportedly $72,000. However, in Sebring, a study on nursing salaries says the city’s nurses make just $48,400.

The study of BLS statistics was produced by SimpleNursing. When factoring in cost of living adjustments, the organization said the salary is roughly $52,000 per year for Sebring nurses. However, the state overall is still not competitive with the national average.

The data from SimpleNursing is slightly different from BLS. According to the federal government, the annual mean wage for Florida nurses is $72,000. Still, SimpleNursing said Florida nurses earn $33 per hour, on average, a wage $4 lower than the national level. BLS reported Florida nurses make about $34 per hour.

“Nurses are at the forefront of patient care, and collectively comprise the largest healthcare occupation,” the Florida Hospital Association said in a 2021 report on nursing staff projections through 2035. “Between 2019 and 2035, the period covered by this study, Florida’s population is projected to increase by 21% with the population age 65 and older projected to increase by 51%. Population growth and aging will increase demand for nurses.”

To address staffing and salary needs, Florida’s Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis prioritized ways to provide higher pay, and more employment opportunities in the state. While some of the legislative efforts faced opposition from industry and patient advocates, the bills still passed.

Even with the recruitment and training efforts by Florida and other U.S. states, the American Health Care Association reports that staffing needs are still high, particularly in nursing homes. In a report published in June, AHCA said 60% of nursing homes were “experiencing worse staffing situations since the start of 2022.”

Of those surveyed for their report, 33% said it was “much worse” than the year before. The report also found 87% of nursing homes are facing moderate or high staffing shortages. Almost all nursing homes are having trouble hiring staff, 98%, according to AHCA.

BLS reported nursing care facilities staff, on average, make $72,260 per year,

Asked what helped improve retention efforts, nursing homes in every state said higher pay and bonuses helped keep staff on board. According to AHCA, 95% of the nursing homes surveyed said increased wages helped, while 92% said offering bonuses helped.

According to BLS, there were about 3 million nurses working in all of the United States, with 187,920 in Florida. While the Sunshine State has the fourth highest population of registered nurses in the country, their annual mean wages were far lower than comparable states New York and Pennsylvania.

StateNurses EmployedHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
California324,400$ 59.62$ 124,000
Texas217,630$ 38.04$ 79,120
New York188,300$ 44.86$ 93,320
Florida187,920$ 34.62$ 72,000
Pennsylvania149,270$ 36.54$ 76,000
(Source: BLS)

With inflation still rising in the U.S., that makes the difference between pay and cost sharper, in terms of how much money individuals have to use after living expenses. In the U.S., real hourly earnings have declined, even as wages increased. Real earnings are calculated by comparing wage gains to the Consumer Price Index, or the standard inflation tracker used by the BLS.

Like all jobs, SimpleNursing reported the current economy is making wage gains less impactful.

“Nurse pay has risen steadily and, for the most part, in harmony with the general costs of goods and services that make up daily life. There were significant gains in compensation in the past years, the largest being an 8.1% gain in 2013,” SimpleNursing said. “In fact, nursing pay rose 27% between 2012 and 2021. However, in the last year, the consumer price index rose 4.7%, while nursing pay only rose 1.3%. This means nurses’ pay is actually less significant today due to rising inflation.”

The organization said the level of salary is less meaningful if it doesn’t take a state’s cost of living into account.