Industry NewsAHLA: 700 Hotel Jobs Were Added in June 2024

AHLA: 700 Hotel Jobs Were Added in June 2024

WASHINGTON—U.S. hotels added 700 jobs to their payrolls in June, according to the latest government data that shows the nationwide workforce shortage continues to make it difficult for hotels to fill open jobs.

Total hotel employment stands at about 1.92 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s more than 196,000 fewer workers in the industry than in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, which reflects the scarcity of available employees.

BLS also revised down the total number of hotel jobs in the country, which eliminated job gains for the industry that were reported in prior months.

“Halfway through 2024, the hotel industry is behind where it needs to be when it comes to hiring staff, despite near-record high wages and expanding workplace benefits and flexibility. The reason is the nationwide workforce shortage, which is preventing hoteliers from meeting their full potential as demand for travel remains strong,” said AHLA Interim President and CEO Kevin Carey. “Both Congress and the administration can provide relief to our members, many of whom are small business owners, and AHLA will continue to call for action to expand the pool of available workers.”

Hotel Workforce Overview

Hotels continue to offer increased wages, benefits, and workplace flexibility to attract and retain workers in the face of a nationwide workforce shortage:

  • Since the pandemic, average hotel wages (up 26.0 percent) have increased more than 15 percent faster than average wages throughout the general economy (up 22.2 percent).
  • Despite these increases, there are currently tens of thousands of open hotel jobs in the United States, according to Indeed.
Nationwide Workforce Overview

As of May, there were 8.1 million job openings in the United States and only 6.6 million unemployed people to fill those jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AHLA Workforce Policy Priorities

AHLA is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to expand the workforce by making available nearly 65,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas as soon as possible, under the authority Congress gave it as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.

AHLA also urges Congress to pass the following bills to help expand the workforce so hoteliers can maintain and expand their operations:

  • The Closing the Workforce Gap Act of 2024 (H.R. 7574) would replace the arbitrary annual cap of 66,000 H-2B guestworker visas with a new, needs-based system for allocating visas.
  • The H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act (H.R. 4708) would expand the H-2A/H-2B labor certification period to three years and permanently authorize the waiver of in-person interviews for returning workers. The HIRE Act would make it easier for qualified workers to secure jobs in fields that are struggling to recruit and retain enough employees to meet demand. By growing the pool of seasonal workers, the bill would give seasonal small business hotels critical staffing relief and facilitate the hotel industry’s continued recovery.
  • The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (S.255/H.R.1325) would allow people seeking asylum at ports of entry to be eligible for work authorizations starting 30 days after they apply for asylum, provided their applications are not frivolous; they are not detained; their identities have been verified; and their names are run through the federal government’s terrorist watch lists. This change would help hotels address critical staffing needs by allowing certain asylum seekers to work as soon as 30 days after applying for asylum. Current law prevents them from legally working for at least six months, forcing them to rely on assistance from local governments and communities.
AHLA Foundation Workforce Policy Priorities

To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200+ career pathways, the AHLA Foundation remains focused on growing and retaining the industry’s talent pipeline through workforce development initiatives.

  • The Foundation’s No Room For Trafficking Survivor Fund and Empowering Youth Program (EYP) support community-based organizations that provide workforce readiness and hospitality training and access to employment opportunities for human trafficking survivors and opportunity youth (ages 16-24 who are not currently in school or employed), respectively.
  • The Registered Apprenticeship Program is a Department of Labor-funded initiative that combines on-the-job training with classroom education for in-demand occupations. The program supports hospitality industry programs for cooks, lodging managers, and maintenance workers.