I was wondering the same thing. I've been in California on a travel nursing assignment since December and I'm going back to Chicago in 3 weeks. I've seen jobs posted but that doesn't mean anything. I don't know who has hiring freezes. I'm gonna get a permanent job when I get back because Agency work is so unstable right now. My agency in Chicago is PNI and they weren't doing too bad when I left, but it was bad enough to let me know I need to get a permanent job with this economy.
The Chicago job market for RNs is still bleak, there are hiring freezes at all of the big University hospitals, most of them not even allowing lateral transfers, plus they are laying off part timers. Agency work is still available, I would sign up with PNI and another one. The Catholic hospitals are always hiring, regular staff and agency. Home Health is another option to get you through the recession.