Home / Economy / Articles / Has leisure and hospitality employment recovered from the pandemic?
Embed on your website

How did the pandemic impact the hospitality industry?

Employment in all major industry sectors fell in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but leisure and hospitality were among the most negatively affected. In February 2020, 16.9 million Americans worked in the leisure and hospitality industry. Two months later — as the pandemic took hold — that figure was 8.7 million, a 48.6% decrease.

Has the hospitality industry recovered?

As the nation recovered and businesses reopened, leisure and hospitality started marking monthly gains in employment, particularly in February 2021 (with 372,000 jobs added) and July 2021 (284,000 jobs added). As of September 2023[1], the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a national total of 16,761,000 leisure and hospitality workers — a recovery of nearly all jobs the sector lost during the pandemic.

Which industries have added the most employees since 2020?

Two industry sectors are the fastest-growing employers since the pandemic declaration: transportation and warehousing (26.8% increase) and construction (22.8% increase). Leisure and hospitality is one of four industry sectors — along with government, mining and logging, and “other” — that have yet to recover to or exceed February 2020 employment levels.

For the latest information and data on employment and pandemic recovery, read the America in Facts 2023 report and sign up for our newsletter.

Industries at a Glance: Leisure and Hospitality
Last updated
November 2023

BLS data from September 2023 is preliminary.