Graduated in Dec.'08. I applied for jobs in December, hoping to at least work as a GN or CNA until I took and passed my NCLEX. I did get a job, started in mid-Jan working as a CNA/GN. I now work fullt-time as a nurse on mostly day shift at the same facility, and love my job. I did initially have to travel about 45min to find this job, but have since moved near my job (now less than 10min away).
A friend of mine waited until Summer '09 to take her NCLEX. She applied everywhere, got her license in another state to apply there, and still couldn't land a job. She had no health care experience, but a solid work history. To make a long story short, she's now working at the same facility as mine. She had to start as a CNA (even though she'd passed her NCLEX) because no nursing position was available. After a few months of this, a nursing position opened, and she now works two 12-hour shifts on the weekend.
A matter of one semester made a dramatic difference in job opportunities. It's been about a year and a half since I graduated, and I still had to start out as a CNA in order to work my way up. Now, even that seems not an option. SO MANY NURSING PROGRAMS have opened in my area. It's REALLY a shame for the people who paid for private trade schools with the promise of "recession-proof" nursing...
The only upside to all this is that it's going to be that nursing is a profession people enter because they GENUINELY want to be nurses and not because of just "having a job".