Hotel guest checking in. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/martin-dm)
The leisure and hospitality industry has a long way to go to recover jobs lost during the pandemic despite positive jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The March employment report showed that 431,000 jobs were added overall, with 112,000 in the Leisure & Hospitality (L&H) sector; however, that is far from the number of jobs the sector employed before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Travel Association, which released a statement on the recovery.
“Out of the 1.6 million jobs left to recover, a staggering 1.5 million are in Leisure & Hospitality alone, pointing directly to the sector’s uneven recovery and how swift federal policies are needed to restore the travel workforce,” U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said.
Emerson Barnes noted that despite the gains, growth was still far too slow.
“A lack of available workers, coupled with the slow return of business and international travel spending, is restricting Leisure & Hospitality’s recovery, even as other sectors of the economy regain—and in some cases, exceed—pre-pandemic levels,” she said.
Emerson Barnes noted that the government should act to help the sector recover.
“The Biden administration and Congress need to enact stabilizing policies, such as ending COVID-era travel restrictions like the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound travelers and the federal mask mandate on public transportation,” she said. “Furthermore, now is the time to release all authorized H-2B visas above the cap to accelerate the travel industry’s recovery and regrow its workforce.”