Millions of job losses expected by year end in US and UK

Nearly two million hospitality jobs in the US and UK are at risk by the end of 2021

[Credit: Saskia Fairfull on Unsplash]

US/UK: Recent data from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and UKHospitality reveals that nearly two million hospitality jobs are at risk by the end of 2021, and are calling for targeted support.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has released new data showing that hotels are expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs. The top five states include:

• California (67,169 jobs lost)

• Florida (39,560 jobs lost)

• New York (38,028 jobs lost)

• Nevada (22,282 jobs lost)

• Hawaii (20,029 jobs lost)

For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, an additional 26 jobs in the community are supported according to a study by Oxford Economics. With the expected 500,000 job losses by the end of the year, this amounts to a further 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs in jeopardy.

Overall, leisure and hospitality has lost 3.1 million jobs during the pandemic. This figure represents more than a third of all unemployed persons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

AHLA, along with UNITE HERE – a hospitality workers union in North America – have since joined forces to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act. This legislation urges for targeted federal relief for the hotel workforce, including up to three months full payroll support.

“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period. We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotels retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, begins to come back.”

Whilst leisure travel for spring and summer is encouraging for hotels, business travel is down 85 per cent and is not expected to return until H2 2021. Full recovery is anticipated in 2024.

Urban hotels ended January down 66 per cent in room revenue compared to last year. New York City is reported to have seen one-third of its hotel rooms (more than 42,000) wiped out by the pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels closing permanently.  

Further information about the Save Hotel Jobs Act can be found here. 

In the United Kingdom, over 330,000 hospitality jobs are at risk this summer. A recent survey by UKHospitality found that the rent debt issue for hospitality, totalling around £2.5 billion, is placing jobs in jeopardy.

52 per cent of operators surveyed have not been given any extension to pay rent, with close to three-quarters unable to or don’t know how they can pay their rent arrears. 40 per cent have not been able to reach a deal with their landlord over rent concessions.

If the current protections that are in place are removed in the summer, one sixth of the hospitality workforce (332,000) jobs could be lost.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO said: “Our survey shows that while a proportion of operators have been able to strike a deal with their landlords on payment of rent debt, for many there have been no concessions and little engagement on the issue. The issue of rent debt must be resolved in a way that shares the burden as businesses simply cannot be expected to pay their rent arrears in full.

“This is why the Government must take affirmative action to help hospitality rebuild and play its part in the economic recovery,” she continued. “There has to be a sharing of the pain caused by lockdowns and trading restrictions. Government must extend and expand protections until the end of the year, and force the writing off of a fair amount of Covid rent debt. The removal of protections would be disastrous and result in a huge increase in enforcement activity – meaning business failures and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”

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