Although hotels recorded job growth in September, the tepid increase served as further validation of the industry's pessimism about solving its labor shortage anytime soon.
Despite a substantial rise in new U.S. leisure and hospitality hiring in September, the hotels portion of that only managed to add 6,700 new jobs, a sign of the industry’s ongoing inability to fill the large number of job openings.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed, in its monthly jobs report released on Friday, that leisure and hospitality — which includes hotels — added 83,000 jobs in September, a significant jump from the 31,000 the previous month. The sector accounted for 32 percent of the 263,000 new jobs created in September. However, only 8 percent of leisure and hospitality’s new jobs came from hotels themselves while only 72 percent came from restaurants and bars. Hotels had added 4,300 jobs in August.
The hotel industry’s disappointing hiring numbers come as a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (ALHA) found that 91 percent of hotels said they’re still unable to fill open positions. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents said they’re experiencing a staffing shortage, with 36 percent describing their shortages as severe.
Although ALHA CEO and President Chip Rodgers expressed satisfaction about the jobs report released on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, in statistics released this week, that the leisure and hospitality sector had 1.4 million openings to fill in August compared to 1.7 million the same month last year, underscoring the challenges of the labor shortage. The bureau also estimated that hotel employment was down roughly 380,000 jobs, as of September, compared to February 2020.
Despite the sector’s unemployment rate dropping from 7.7 percent in September 2021 to 5.9 last month, it’s still the highest among any industry tracked by the bureau. Employment in leisure and hospitality is also down by 6.7 percent from February 2020 levels.
However, despite September recording a decrease in overall job gains the 315,000 figure recorded the previous month, the national unemployment rate dropped slightly from 3.7 percent in August to 3.5 percent.
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Photo credit: Hotels in the September U.S. jobs report only represented a small portion of the hiring. Rodrigo_SalomonHC / Pixabay