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’ March employment report, which found that 431,000 jobs were added overall, with 112,000 in the Leisure & Hospitality (L&H) sector:
“Out of the 1.6 million jobs left to recover, a staggering 1.5 million are in Leisure & Hospitality alone, pointing directly to the sector’s uneven recovery and how swift federal policies are needed to restore the travel workforce.
“Despite this month’s employment gains, growth in the Leisure & Hospitality sector is far too slow to make up for more than two years of pandemic-related losses. A lack of available workers, coupled with the slow return of business and international travel spending, is restricting Leisure & Hospitality’s recovery, even as other sectors of the economy regain—and in some cases, exceed—pre-pandemic levels.
“The Biden administration and Congress need to enact stabilizing policies, such as ending COVID-era travel restrictions like the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound travelers and the federal mask mandate on public transportation. Furthermore, now is the time to release all authorized H-2B visas above the cap to accelerate the travel industry’s recovery and regrow its workforce.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry.