Although the jobs report released on Friday provided U.S. hotels encouraging news, the hotel industry needs substantially more help to overcome its staffing shortages.
U.S. hotels again saw an increase in job growth in September. But despite the surge in hiring, the industry still has a long way to go to fully recover from the pandemic.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed Friday that hotels added roughly 15,600 jobs in September, up from the revised 12,000 jobs added in August. Meanwhile, the broader leisure and hospitality category — which includes hotels — added about 96,000 positions, representing about 29% of the total jobs created in the U.S. last month.
In September, the unemployment rate within the leisure and hospitality sector experienced a notable decline, standing at 5.4% compared to 5.9% just a year prior. However, despite this positive shift, it’s crucial to acknowledge that this industry continues to bear the highest unemployment rate among all the major sectors that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monitors.
The challenges faced by the leisure and hospitality sector extend beyond just the unemployment rate. As an illustrative point, consider the fact that employment levels within the hotel industry remain substantially below the pre-pandemic benchmarks set in February 2020. Specifically, hotel employment currently lags behind by 10.3%, reflecting the significant setbacks this vital segment of the economy has encountered.
“Hotel job growth was strong this month thanks to near-historic wages, better benefits, and more workplace flexibility than ever before. But hotels are still nearly 217,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
“That’s why AHLA continues to ask Congress for help addressing the economy-wide shortage of workers that’s driving our industry’s workforce shortage. That includes establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act.”
The U.S. added 336,000 jobs in September, close to double the month’s projected job increase and 109,000 jobs more than August’s revised figure. The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%.
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Photo credit: Businessman checking in to hotel, young woman looking at passport, using laptop 10'000 Hours / Getty Images