This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the latest employment data, which surpassed expectations and showed that the economy added 263,000 jobs in November. This is worrying investors who fear that the Federal Reserve will respond to a still-hot jobs market with even more aggressive interest rate hikes.

  • With the latest jobs growth, the overall U.S. jobs market is 0.7% above pre-pandemic levels and the private sector up 1.2% 

Leisure & Hospitality (L&H) added 88,000 jobs in November, which is about average for the industry and accounted for 33% of all U.S. jobs growth.

  • While its recovery has steadily improved each month, L&H remains 5.8%—or 980,000 jobs—below pre-pandemic levels. 
  • The segment that is furthest behind remains Accommodations (-16.8%) while Air Transport employment (not part of L&H) continued its growth beyond pre-pandemic levels (+11.3%). 

The big picture: A fuller picture of the job situation should also highlight job openings—perhaps the most interesting data that came out this week. On Wednesday, BLS released job openings data for October (openings are typically a month behind). In short, while overall job openings declined—perhaps an early indication of a cooler jobs market in light of a likely recession—L&H openings remained the same, pointing to its resilience.

By the Numbers: 

  • Overall job openings declined from 10.7 to 10.3 million in October, and the openings rate declined from 6.5% to 6.3%
  • The number of available workers per 100 open positions, while still low, increased from 54 to 59. 
  • Despite the overall decrease in openings, L&H openings remained stable, and its openings rate stayed extremely high at 9.0%.

Why it matters: As suggested above, the continued stability of L&H openings can perhaps point to the resiliency of L&H and the overall travel industry in the face of a possible recession. This was underscored in our latest travel forecast, released earlier this week, which expects the travel industry to remain unprecedently robust in the face of an expected economic downturn. 

A silver lining: If this resilience remains, the worker shortage in many segments of the industry—particularly Accommodations—will remain a challenge. But there may be a “silver lining” in the expected economic recession. If overall openings continue to decline, this may provide a boost of desperately needed potential workers to our industry. 


U.S. Travel

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