The big picture: The latest jobs data shows that Leisure & Hospitality (L&H) jobs continued to grow, but nowhere near what is needed for industry growth or to fill the large, and growing, number of openings.

By the Numbers: L&H jobs increased by 35,000 in October—more than any other industry except healthcare and professional services—to 15.9 million.

  • However: L&H remains 1.1 million jobs—or 6.5%—below pre-pandemic levels, worse than any other major industry. In comparison, the overall private sector was 1% ABOVE pre-pandemic levels in October.

Go deeper: Earlier this week, the latest job openings data was released for September. While both L&H and overall openings increased, after a decline in August, the increase in L&H openings was extremely high. L&H openings jumped from 1.4 to 1.6 million (+234,000) in one month, reaching their highest level since March. 

  • What this means: The industry is not only seeking to return to pre-pandemic job levels but is positioned to grow.
  • However, L&H continues to face tough competition for workers. With the increase in total U.S. openings—and a shrinking labor force—there were just 54 workers for every 100 openings in the overall economy in September. 

Why it matters: Despite recessionary concerns, travel demand remains strong, and many sectors of the industry—particularly lodging—are desperately seeking to fill open positions. 

While a recessionary environment should actually bring some relief in terms of increasing the number of available workers, the jobs market remains hot—in fact, hotter than expected—at the moment.

Digging Deeper into Sectors

  • Within L&H, Accommodation is the most behind at -17%.
  • Air transport employment (not part of L&H) is up 10.6%. However, regardless of the complete recovery in terms of jobs in this sector, staffing problems at airports persist and airlines are having a difficult time training pilots as fast as they are needed.

U.S. Travel Association

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