Hospitality and Leisure Industry Unemployment More Than Double the National Average

Recovery has slowed over the past three months, with the number of new jobs added falling from 413,000 in September to 31,000 in November.


What You Need to Plan for Recovery
Northstar understands the importance of meetings safely and smartly. Check out our free Recovery Resource Center, which provides "how to" tools to help planners produce successful events amid the pandemic.

Recovery in the hospitality and leisure sector continues to lag behind other industries. According to a new report from the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics, unemployment in the hospitality and leisure industry currently stands at 15 percent, more than double the national average of 7 percent.

The industry, which accounted for 11 percent of the nation's pre-pandemic employment, has suffered a staggering 35 percent of all coronavirus-related job losses in the country. Since March, more than 16.9 million hospitality and leisure jobs have been lost. Only 4.9 million jobs have since been created or restored, with recovery slowing significantly over the fall. In September, the hospitality and leisure industry added 413,000 jobs. This number fell to 31,000 in November.

Within the industry, the hardest-hit segments include:

  • Food and beverage: Employment is down 17 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: Job losses stand at 28 percent.
  • Accommodation: There has been a 31 percent drop in employment.

U.S. Travel is pushing for Congress to pass a new coronavirus relief package before the end of the year, which would enhance and extend the Paycheck Protection Program through the end of 2021. Other top priorities include expanding PPP eligibility to destination marketing organizations and allowing for second-draw loans among the hardest-hit industries.

"Every day that passes without relief makes it harder to bring back the jobs that were lost," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We know that both sides of the political aisle largely agree on the measures necessary to sustain and restore the travel industry, and we urge lawmakers to pass a relief package without delay before year's end. Not only will a relief package go a long way in protecting vulnerable travel industry jobs, but it’s the will of the American people for Washington to come together and get a deal done."