U.S. Travel Association Reflects on Unemployment in Leisure and Hospitality

Capitol - U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON—U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February employment report, which confirms that 73 percent of the jobs lost are in leisure and hospitality (L&H):

“The overall jobs report today may be good economic news for certain sectors, but nearly three quarters (73 percent) of all jobs still lost due to the pandemic are in leisure and hospitality. The sector’s uneven recovery is due to the lack of available workers, and revenues are down due to a lack of inbound international travelers and the deep reduction in business travel and professional events. Today’s job numbers reflect the great need to accelerate the return of business and international inbound travel and the recovery of these leisure and hospitality positions.”

“While overall U.S. employment is just 1.4 percent below 2019 levels, leisure and hospitality is down a disproportionate 9 percent. Urgent action is needed by both the administration and Congress to bolster inbound international travel, restore business travel, and ensure an even recovery across all sectors.”

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Measures before the Administration and Congress to boost the travel industry’s recovery include:

  • Removing the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated inbound international arrivals.
  • Providing emergency support for Brand USA through the passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act.
  • Raising the cap on H-2B visas to ease the absence of labor for the more than one million job openings in the leisure and hospitality industry.
  • Providing targeted, temporary tax credits and deductions to stimulate spending on business travel, live entertainment, and in-person events.
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