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Study: 40% of Excess Unemployment Is in Leisure & Hospitality Sector

August 14, 2020 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Faced with a fresh round of bleak employment data, the American travel industry is renewing its pleas for leaders in Washington to return to the negotiating table and finalize another coronavirus-related relief package—without which the prospects for an overall U.S. economic recovery look increasingly grim.

A report prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics finds a bevy of chilling jobs figures—and underscores the fact that an overall U.S. employment recovery will not be successful unless the hard-hit travel and tourism industry can be safely restarted:

  • 40% of excess U.S. unemployment is in the Leisure and Hospitality (L&H) sector [1], despite that sector accounting for 11% of all pre-pandemic employment in the U.S.
  • Despite some jobs being slowly restored with the onset of the spring and summer travel seasons, more than a quarter of all L&H workers remain unemployed—double the next most hard-hit industry.
  • Nearly half of the 16.9 million jobs in the L&H sector were wiped out in March and April.
  • If every industry recovered to its pre-pandemic employment level except for L&H, the overall employment rate would fall from 10.2% to 6.2%—still 2.7% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“If the primary point of aid from Washington is to help U.S. employers and working Americans, then by every objective measure the American travel and tourism industry ought to be right at the top of the priority list,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Substantial portions of the travel sector missed out on earlier rounds of relief, and if the next deal doesn’t get done, the acute pain being felt by travel workers is going to extend through and well after the election.

“We are pleading with congressional and administration leaders to return to the negotiating table and pass the relief enhancements that are going to help protect millions of jobs in each and every state and congressional district in every corner of the country.”

The travel industry has called for a series of legislative priorities that should be included in a final relief deal—particularly enhancement and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to provide aid to travel organizations that have yet to be able to access the program.

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