Over half of all travel jobs are now gone as travel related unemployment hits 51%

The US Travel Association released updated travel-related unemployment figures today in advance of Memorial Day weekend. These staggering figures show how deep the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been on the travel industry in particular.

US Travel Association President Roger Dow noted, “Our national economy is in a recession, but the travel industry is already in a depression. Travel-related businesses have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic’s fallout, and unfortunately our workforce is on the front lines of that struggle.”

The report, released on May 19, shows a grim picture of the current state of domestic travel and tourism noting that 51% of all travel related jobs have evaporated leaving more than 8 million people in the travel industry alone unemployed. The rate of unemployment is more than 3.4 times the current rate of unemployment in the United States which is hovering around 14.7% and more than twice as high as the unemployment rates reached during the Great Depression.

The effects of the COVID-19 impact are nine times deeper than the post 9/11 travel recession. The report noted that after 9/11 travel spending declined 57 billion dollars resulting in a 151 billion dollar economic loss. So far, the COVID-19 travel recession is predicted to result in 519 billion dollars less travel spending with an economic impact of 1.2 trillion. Ouch.

And while there was some recent good news with the TSA reporting travel has steadily been increasing since it’s April lows, there’s not much hope on the horizon, particularly for this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

The US Travel Association is predicting Memorial Day related travel spend to drop by nearly two-thirds, a drop off of more than 8 Billion dollars. These numbers are nothing short of staggering and only begin to show the painful effects the coronavirus has had on a once vibrant segment of the economy.

It’s anybody’s guess when and how travel will return. Some suggest local travel will lead the way, and there’s probably some truth to that, while other’s predict the permanent fall of business travel (which we highly skeptical of). What is clear, is that travel, for the foreseeable future, will be a lot less and a lot different.

For example, most major airlines now require face coverings when traveling and soon temperature checks may become a routine part of air travel. Entire cottage industries are cropping up around face masks. Digital thermometers may become the hottest new travel gadget you stash in your bag on your next trip. And hotel stays may never be the same again. It’s a new and sad world for the travel industry and travelers alike. Let’s hope it passes soon. Real soon.

You can read the full report here and the subsequent article here.

Be Safe Out There

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