- Employment in the U.S. leisure and hospitality industry increased by 40,000 jobs in August, with 8,600 in the accommodation sector, including hotels, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Year over year, employment in the accommodation sector has increased by 82,300 jobs, the report shows. Despite the growth, industry employment in August was still down 238,100 jobs from record-high levels in February 2020.
- Amid the ongoing labor shortage, hoteliers have looked for ways to grow the workforce, including flexible employment options, higher wages and expanded benefits for workers. For many hotel staff, though, the current efforts don’t keep up with a growing cost of living. Despite the ongoing woes, jobs growth is anticipated for the industry for the rest of the year.
Jobs growth at hotels was on the rise in August, a trend that has continued on a monthly basis since last year. Over the last 12 months, the hospitality and leisure industry gained an average of 61,000 jobs per month, according to the BLS report. And hotels alone supported 8.3 million American jobs in 2022, equivalent to nearly 1 in every 25 jobs.
Despite the August uptick, the hotel industry’s lag behind pre-pandemic employment levels still leaves hoteliers searching for a solution to up staff counts.
Earlier this year, hundreds of hoteliers gathered in Washington, D.C., to lobby for policy change to grow the hotel workforce. They urged Congress to expand the legal H-2B guestworker program and pass the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act.
Hoteliers have also tried attracting new workers with increased wages, expanded benefits and more flexible scheduling in recent months — even taking to new staffing apps to better connect with hourly workers. However, many owners report they still can’t fill critical openings at their hotels.
Hotel workers in Southern California, particularly, claim hoteliers’ efforts are not enough to keep up with the growing cost of living and increased job demands and duties. Currently, thousands of workers in the region are participating in the area’s largest multihotel strike in history, demanding higher pay. Most hotels involved, aside from The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, have failed to meet workers’ demands.
These ongoing labor disputes, along with others cropping up across the country, could impact jobs growth in the industry. Nevertheless, the World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that the U.S. travel and tourism sector, including hotels, will see jobs growth in 2023 and beyond.