With nearly 11 million job openings in the U.S, the COVID-19 pandemic has left drastic and long-lasting impacts on the American workforce—with roughly one-in-six or 1.8 million job openings in leisure and hospitality alone as of the end of November 2021.

Quick Facts

The workforce crisis is affecting every corner of our industry—from frontline hourly positions to mid-level management and beyond. Tourism has historically battled a reputation of low-paying jobs, long hours and little upward mobility—all of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of jobs due to the pandemic decimated travel, which despite gains through the summer, still falls 8% below its pre-pandemic levels as of November.

Leaders across the industry are exploring ways to recruit a more diverse population, incentivize hiring and highlight the benefits of a career in the travel industry with the goal of building back a more stable workforce.

The bottom line: the state of our workforce is very different today and we must work collectively to address today’s challenges.

State of the American Workforce and its Impact on Travel

State of the American Workforce Cover ImageThis new white paper analyzes how the pandemic impacted the state of the current workforce including the main reasons for workforce shortages, perceptions of travel and tourism, and the top employment considerations for today’s workforce. Industry recommendations, quotes, call-outs and examples from inside and outside our industry provide unique perspectives and potential solutions on addressing the current hiring landscape.

  • View the executive summary deck highlighting key takeaways and findings here. 
  • Access the full, member-only report with detailed insights here. A member login will be required. 

Dig into the Data

  • Leisure and Hospitality (L&H) Employment Report | This report provides detailed data on the current employment situation for the hospitality sector, including key takeaways on labor market constraints, plus a comparison of overall travel employment versus L&H.
  • Travel Recovery Insights Dashboard | This comprehensive source intelligence on the U.S. travel industry and the broader economy includes detailed data on various indicators and forecasts—including a dedicated page on the U.S. Workforce with the current rate of job openings and hirings, hourly earnings by month and more.

Workforce Webinar Resources

We are committed to continuing the conversation around the workforce crisis, sharing more analysis and thought leadership as well as continued collaboration with industry partners to drive formative change for the future of the workforce. See the webinars below and stay tuned for more important conversations on the horizon.


Coming Soon 

U.S. Travel, alongside its members, is working to address the workforce challenges affecting our industry through chapter three of our recovery campaign series. The campaign is currently under development with plans to launch in early 2022. Stay tuned for details. 


Increase the cap on H-2B and J1 visas

Permanently exempt returning H-2B workers from the cap, such as proposed in the H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act (H.R. 3897)

Streamline and Modernize H-2B Visa Programs

Create a single digital platform for employer certifications, worker petitions, and visas; Create an accessible online job registry for employers and workers; Strengthen worker protections by: requiring employers to develop and maintain a worksite safety and compliance plan; requiring transparency for foreign recruiters and prohibiting recruitment fees; and codify process and penalties for repeat and willful program violations

Research, News and Commentary on State of the Workforce

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The 2022 Lineup: What’s On Tap for U.S. Travel Members

January 13, 2022

Make the most of your membership this year and deepen your engagement with U.S. Travel through education, advocacy, research and networking. Join the U.S. Travel team for an overview of what we...

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U.S. Travel Association Reacts to CDC Travel Health Notice for Cruise Ship Travel

December 30, 2021

U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued a statement on the December 30th CDC Travel Health Notice for Cruise Ship Travel.

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Travel Price Index

January 12, 2022

The Travel Price Index (TPI) measures the cost of travel away from home in the United States. It is based on the U.S. Department of Labor price data collected for the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI). The TPI is released monthly and is directly comparable to the CPI. 

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