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March Jobs Report Points to Major Hospitality Industry Recovery

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Joshua Friedlander

An overwhelmingly positive March jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was buoyed further by a strong uptick in hospitality industry jobs, with one segment besting pre-pandemic levels for employment.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate for non-farm jobs ticked down to 3.8% in March, with the economy adding 303,000 jobs, according to the Bureau. The numbers represent an extension of the largest stretch of unemployment below 4% in five decades.

[Related: The Top Insights and Results From the 2024 Meetings Today Trends Survey]

The hospitality industry made a particularly strong showing, with leisure and hospitality adding 458,000 jobs in the past year. The new jobs represent nearly one in six new jobs in the U.S.

“The March jobs report pointing to a surge in leisure and hospitality employment is welcome news for travel businesses and a reflection of the resiliency of domestic leisure travel in the U.S., though growth in the international inbound segment continues to lag,” said Joshua Friedlander, vice president of research at the U.S. Travel Association. “It is further evidence of strengthening travel demand and a positive indicator for the travel economy overall.”

A separate study from the Labor Department and reported in The Washington Post noted that employers in arts, entertainment and recreation made the most hires on record. The report added that more than 53,000 restaurants opened in 2023, up 10% from 2022 and exceeding pre-pandemic levels. 

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.