BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) ¿ Health care staffing services company Cross Country Healthcare Inc. said Monday its profit shrank 84 percent in the third quarter, as the recession cut into demand for skilled nurses, and older doctors appeared to postpone retiring, leaving fewer positions to be filled.

Cross Country said nurse and allied staffing revenue was cut in half as its customers chose to use more "per diem" nurses and fewer skilled professionals. Physician staffing revenue also declined, which the company said might be due to older doctors putting off retirements due to the stock market plunge and weaker housing market, as well as a dip in elective surgeries. Clinical trial revenue also decreased.

The company said its profit dropped to $968,000, or 3 cents per share, from $6.2 million, or 20 cents per share. Total revenue slid 27 percent, to $129.6 million from $178.1 million. According to Thomson Reuters, analysts were projecting a profit of 2 cents per share and $132.4 million in revenue.

Nurse and allied staffing revenue was down 50 percent to $64.1 million, with staffing volume down 48 percent. Physician staffing revenue slipped 3 percent to $39.6 million, and staffing days filled fell 13 percent.

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