Hospitality industry sees job growth halt, with little hope ahead
Signs of hope for hard-hit leisure and hospitality workers all but faded in November, and their re-employment prospects are dwindling month by month.
Friday’s jobs report showed a further slowdown in hiring in the United States, with 245,000 new jobs created in the lowest monthly total throughout the labor market recovery that began in May.
In the hospitality industry, which suffered the largest losses in the spring and remains down 3.4 million jobs from February, employment growth has been relatively stable. With the The covid pandemic is sweeping, positive signs of a wave of summer and fall hiring in the industry are harder to find.
Since the spring, there has been “a disproportionate effect on the leisure and hospitality industry,” said Wendy Edelberg, director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and former chief economist at the Congressional Budget Office.
Additional unemployment benefits and government assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program have helped boost consumer spending and keep small businesses like restaurants afloat, she said. and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the industry has recovered nearly 5 million jobs from its April lows.
But with sources of government aid exhausting at the end of the year, Edelberg said spending is likely to decline and more small businesses will close without additional sources of aid. This means that there may be fewer employers available for those looking for work in the field.
Amy Harmon, 37, and her husband both lost their restaurant jobs in Los Angeles on the same day in March. With only a few months left she had a new job as a sommelier at an Italian restaurant called chi SPACCA and was close to qualifying for perks like a 401 (k) for the first time in her career in the hotel industry.
In September, Harmon was called back to a former waiter position at The Tasting Kitchen near Venice Beach, but was fired again after five weeks.
“When we found out we were going to close again and knowing that there was no predictable help on the way, it was absolutely terrifying,” she said. Her family had to ask their landlord for rent relief so they didn’t lose their apartment. Harmon said they “barely keep her head above water” as bills and student loan payments still come in even though she’s out of work.
Her prospects of returning to work appear bleak, Harmon said, as there are so many laid-off workers applying for the few jobs available and she doesn’t think she has the experience to apply for jobs in other industries where the jobs are. remote are more readily available.
And she can’t count on a return to either of the restaurant jobs when restaurants reopen in LA because the positions may no longer exist. The owner of Tasting Kitchen told staff he was “on hold” financially before shutting down and sending workers home.
Sources of real-time economic data, which may provide a more current view than government reports that are weeks or months behind schedule, show tougher times may be ahead.
Restaurant reservation service data OpenTable displays reservations in the United States to their lowest levels since August, down more than 60% from 2019. Job search site ZipRecruiter has seen a “remarkable decline in new restaurant and hotel vacancies” over the course of From the 10 days leading up to Friday’s jobs report, Julia Pollak, a company economist, said in an interview.
Given that the employment reports survey for this month’s numbers was conducted from November 8 to 14, a further slowdown in hospitality might not appear until the December report, released in January.
Bruce Grindy, chief economist at the National Restaurant Association, cited a recent survey conducted by the organization as a warning sign.
“In a survey that the Association just carried out, 49% of operators said they expect their workforce to decline over the next 3 months. Only 5% expect staff numbers to increase,” said Grindy in an email.