The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with bars, hotels, and restaurants closing their doors or operating at limited capacity for months on end. However, there is some good news on the horizon as the sector is currently the fastest-growing employer in the U.S. economy.
According to recent statistics, the leisure and hospitality sector has experienced a 13.5% increase in employment since February 2020, and in February 2021 alone, 318,000 jobs were added in the sector. This growth is being driven by increased consumer spending on travel and dining as vaccination rates rise and pandemic-related restrictions ease.
Despite the rapid recovery, employment levels in the hospitality sector are still 3 million jobs lower than pre-pandemic levels. This means that while the industry is making progress, there is still a long way to go before it can fully recover.
One positive effect of the growth in hospitality jobs is that it is driving up wages in the sector. Average hourly earnings have increased by 7.7% over the past year, which is great news for workers who have struggled with low wages in the past.
However, the hospitality industry is still facing challenges related to labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. With so many businesses reopening at once, there simply aren’t enough workers to fill all of the available positions. Additionally, supply chain disruptions have made it difficult for some businesses to get the supplies they need to operate at full capacity.
Overall, the growth of hospitality jobs is a promising sign for the U.S. economy and for workers in the sector. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the industry can fully recover from the impact of the pandemic. As vaccination rates continue to rise and restrictions are lifted, it is likely that we will see continued growth in the hospitality sector, but businesses must also address the challenges that come with the current labor market and supply chain disruptions.